I believe many of us can do with this word today, a lot of us are struggling with circumstances, with fears, loss of hope, distress and lack of faith. If you’re facing the above this message is for you.
Did you know that the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God? Hebrews 11:6 look it up… did you know that the Bible also says that whatever is not of faith is sin? Look it up, Romans 14:23, the scary part of the above is that we look at the word and think that because we know of Moses, David, Paul, John the Baptist, Elijah, Noah and the ark etc that we know the word and it’s obvious. Yet we see scriptures like the above and realise that it’s a lot deeper than knowing the ‘obvious’ happenings.
This is the very reason why our faith gets tested and why God commands us to deny-self daily, to repent of our sins and to cleanse our hearts. The best way faith was ever described to me was by using a muscle as an example, a muscle, when it’s stretched and pulled it develops, faith develops the same way. James 1:2-3 says “Consider it a pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials at many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Our faith is tested so that we can develop in Christ, that we may get to know Him in a deeper way, our faith is tested so that we can come to a deeper, more dependent and great desire for God’s presence and will in our lives. Jesus came to be an example to us, in flesh, He knows what you are going through in this world, His word comforts us, in John 16:33 He tells us “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” He is speaking to every one of you all you need to do it believe it, have faith in it and live it!!
The trials we face in this world can either cause us to draw closer to God or it cause us to drift away from God. The word has examples of people that stayed close to God and others that drifted away. Paul describes Demas’s defection in 2 Timothy 4:10 “for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.” Paul however remains in faith no matter how hard the trial got, no matter how severe the sacrifice was, how lonely it became or how painful the process, He continued serving God in His will within the time of these trials. Paul explains the time of trial in the book of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Paul served God with his life, he never once asked God for happiness, for riches or for the suffering to end, no Paul’s desires were all for the will and glory of God. Here is the kicker, the word says that we would greater things than these that angels will long to look from heaven to see these things. 1 Peter 1:12 and John 14:12. Do you believe in this? Do you believe in God’s word or are you merely interested in the ‘obvious’? Paul’s life and walk with Christ is one of the most inspiring men of God to me personally, I mean looking at his life, he really had nothing but a relationship and faith in God and he was fulfilled, he was more than just content, he was filled with joy in the worst of times. Did any of you know that Paul was actually stoned? Acts 14:19, I was one of many people that did not know that, how much of the word and ‘obvious’ do we really know?
How much of the word do we actually implement in our lives? We are so focused on our flesh that we have started to idolise ourselves, making ourselves higher than God. Our desire for God’s will has gone lost, we call Him on His name yet we live to please self. Always fighting to get out of the discomfort and the unpleasing, God has a plan!!! Paul had no family, no friends, support, he had no plans all that he had was a heart for God’s will. The man that killed the people of God, he persecuted Jesus!!! Look at the transformation of this man!!! He went from the best of luxuries to the worst circumstances, he was rejected, hated, targeted, abused, humiliated, treated unfairly, he suffered… and he was a faithful servant of God!!! He did not deserve this life, but he trusted God with his life, not to get better but to stay in the will of God, he had a heart for the lost souls, he had a desire to fulfill the plan of God and to give Him all the glory. God has a plan with each and every one of us, it’s time to get venerable in front of God and allow Him to complete His work in us without expecting, without requesting and without any desire. We must focus on Jesus, the time is near and our work is far from complete. YOU ARE NOT ALONE, the season of testing and examining one’s self is here for those that seek God’s face, times are becoming more uncomfortable and more radical. It’s time to pick up those Bible’s daily, not only on Sunday’s but every day, meditate on the word, read the book not just the scripture, pray about the things you don’t understand, search the word for a scripture that completes that which leaves you confused, trust in the Spirit to guide you. Whoever told you that things would get better in this world when you turn to Jesus is a liar!!! Things will only get more difficult, more challenging and less luxurious, following Jesus comes with a price, pick up your cross and count all you once held dear as loss. Ready yourselves for rejection and persecution. The deeper you go with Jesus the more things will start to narrow down, the more my husband and I got closer to Jesus, the more friends and family walked away, the more the enemy worked through people to call up our past to put us down, our desires changed, our hearts were renewed, God humbled us with many things, finances, small rooms we lived in for months, winters where we could not buy clothes, because our focus was not on God 100% but rather on our circumstances, we had to stay in it until we learnt what God wanted us to learn, He had a plan to take us deeper and we fought against it and sometimes we still are. Jesus left us with the Helper, the Holy Spirit that makes all these things possible. John 14:16-18 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Nebuchadnezzar had to live like an animal for 7 years because that’s the amount of time it took him to learn and successfully come to the place God wanted him to be. Some of you feel like a year is too long but with God there is no such thing as time, the word says in James 4:14 “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Compared, to the length and greatness of the future God has planned for you, all the distress of this life is little indeed.
God took Paul to an almost overwhelming sense of human abandonment not because God did not love Paul but because God saw Paul’s faith as gold worth refining. Our distress is like the fire that refines gold from its impurities. 1 Peter 1:7 “that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ. When gold is melted in the fire the impurities float to the top of and can be removed, when the refining fire is over, the gold is even more valuable. So it is with your faith in God. God refines us through trials and distress. It is time that we realise that our purpose here on earth is not about you and I, but for the greater plan of God, for His glory to be made known. God paid a high price for us, let’s keep ourselves devoted to Him and use our most valuable, most fragile and most precious faith to walk with Him through these times of refining ourselves. ITS NOT ABOUT YOU and when we start to understand this in the way God wants us to, that is when He will start moving in your life and when you start to turn from the things of this world and start living the way you are called to live for Christ.
“When Jesus returns, He will be magnificently reflected in the mirror of our faith.” REFINE YOUR FAITH- REJOICE IN SUFFERINGS- AND GIVE ALL THE GLORY TO GOD ALMIGHTY 2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” Job 7:14-18 “What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, that you examine them every morning and test them every moment?” Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Psalm 9:9 “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”
Romans 5:3-10”Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
Isaiah 25:1 “O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.”