Through Tribulation

July 24, 2014

Through Tribulation
Revelation 1:9
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Our walk in the faith of Jesus Christ is not always an easy one. If we really are walking in a full commitment to Christ we, like John, may well come to know that beside the blessings that are ours in Christ, there is often a price to be paid to walk this way. The Kingdom of God is not about God raising up spoiled children, pampered with every desire of their flesh. He is raising an army of sons trained up in Kingdom principles and equipped for spiritual warfare. When the Lord trains us up in His ways we may not feel very blessed because He leads us through hard places. Places of trial and tribulation. Often, just as in military training, there is a process of tearing down of the old ways in order to build us back up in the new ways. 1 Peter 1:7 says, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” Our faith is only a head and knowledge thing until the fire of tribulations and trials come to us. It is there we either press into and lay hold of what we say we believe or we forsake what we may have confessed with our mouth, but has never been worked in our hearts. Our faith is much like a marriage; it is a covenant commitment of our hearts and lives to our God. Not unlike many marriages today, when the honeymoon is over and the rubber meets the road with trials and conflicts, our resolve and commitment of love quickly wanes. We find ourselves in a place of tribulation and rather than overcoming through trust, obedience, patience and steadfastness, we want an easier, less painful way. Jesus could have chosen an easier way, but He endured the beatings and the shame and the pain of the cross for us. Father God could have chosen an easier way than giving His only begotten son to die for us, but He didn’t. He gave the most precious gift He could give us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. When we accepted and were baptized into Christ we accepted and became identified with His cross. Our flesh, with its sin and selfish desires were nailed there with Him. We accepted a death sentence to our past life and in exchange we were given a new life in the Spirit. While we are new creatures in Christ, born of the Spirit, there is a process and working out of our salvation wherein we are possessing our spiritual inheritance through faith and daily overcoming of those former passions and desires that still want to work in our earthly members. As we yield to the Spirit there is being worked in us a greater and greater death to the old man as we come up from glory to glory in our spiritual man. That process is most often worked through testings, trials and tribulations.
Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” For God to bring us into sonship He must work the nature of the Son in us. Concerning Jesus it is said in Hebrews 5:8-10, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” When it says “and being made perfect” it is saying that perfection lies in running the race and staying the course. The only way for Jesus to do this was to suffer on our behalf. Just as were saved when we accepted Christ into our hearts, our salvation is being worked out day by day as we are being made perfect by our identification with Christ, which includes His sufferings. When the children of Israel were told to eat the Passover lamb before Moses led them out of Egypt, they were told to eat the whole lamb, bitter and sweet, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:7-10). We know that the Passover lamb, in type, represented Christ. We must partake of Him today in the same way. There is bitter with the sweet.
Jesus said in John 16:33, “in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Again, in Acts 14:33 it speaks, “Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
So what is this tribulation working in us? “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:1-5).” As our faith is tested and exercised through tribulations, we learn not to look at our circumstances and adversities not as negative things, but as stepping stones upon which our faith and trust in Christ is built up and spiritually we are being built up unto that perfect man. Though outwardly not pleasant God is using these negative experiences to work the positive treasures of His grace and glory in us as we run the race and the stay the course in our walk of faith.
“Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (James 1:12).”

Blessings,
#kent

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