- Published: Monday, 15 October 2018 06:23
I wonder if much of our lives as Christians are lived as a cliché in a sense. We come to church, we call ourselves Christians, we try to live good, wholesome lives. We don’t lie, cheat or steal. We don’t commit adultery and certainly don’t murder. We try to live up to a moral standard that is in keeping with scripture. That’s all ok when things are going well in our lives. Our health is good, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels are all well within normal range. All our relationships are happy and healthy. Our marriages are wonderful, and our children are well behaved, respectful little saints. Our vocation in not only fulfilling but providing resources and finances for us to live our lives in a way that we are we are financially free.
What happens when things don’t go according to plan? What happens when illness strikes, financial pressure looms, our families are under pressure and relational strife begins to show it ugly head? This is the place where the proverbial rubber of our faith hits the road.
God is normally the easiest scape-goat, isn’t He? Why God! We cry out. We begin to question, we begin to withdraw. We often begin to get angry with God. Now many of these emotions are natural reactions. But do we stop with the emotions and reactions or do we begin to put them into our words, actions and deeds?
We face much in this life, don’t we? Illness, pain, death, struggles and strife. But let me ask you a question. “If you are not holding onto Jesus and your faith when the tempest strikes, what are you holding onto?”
Let’s read verse John 3:16 from a few different translations: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV) - “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. (MSG) - For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. (AMP)
This is a strange message to the world isn’t it? Paul puts it this way in His letter to the church in Corinth, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1Co 1:18. A person goes through life having one of these two experiences: they are either perishing, moving ever downward toward the grave; or they are being saved, moving ever upward toward eternal life.
In the Greek, both words are present, continuous actions; that is, a person is perishing or is being saved. The words are not static; a person is not sitting still. We are ever "perishing," more and more being gripped by the flesh and being conditioned to accept a perishing, dying world; or we are ever "being saved," more and more being freed to walk righteously and godly in this present world.
This is where we talk about the rubber hitting the road of our faith. When things begin to go badly in our lives, illness strikes, relationships are strained, finances crunch, this is the point where we have a choice to make. To choose to live as someone who is ever ‘being saved’ or someone who ‘is perishing’.
Could it be that we should be holding onto John 3:16, allowing it to be central in our lives, forming and informing our responses to life? When we do, we can find peace in all circumstances, as Paul wrote, “I’m not telling you this because I’m in need, for I have learned to be satisfied in any circumstance. I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.” (Phil 4:11-13 TPT)
The point is we should be looking to Christ, putting him first, and in Him, finding contentment in every circumstance, so that the strength of His explosive power infuses us to conquer every difficulty.