Wednesday, May 28, 2014

When the heat comes

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. …Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. James 1:2-5, 12 MSG

When life presses in and brings the heart our way, why do we so easily want to pray away the very God-opportunities that face us? Why do we refuse God's
 gifts in life's tests and challenges?

The pressure of life proves God's glorious riches available to us by faith.  God can use pressure to get the best out of us. It doesn't matter where the "heat" of life comes from but what matters is what it produces in our faith and how our hearts respond to it.

So when the heat comes, do we respond with worry? Our heart's response a choice.

Paul certainly knew of the pressures of faith. His faith was certainly tested.  At every test, Paul still inspires me today to have courage, to press on and press in when life brings the heat.    

Life's pressures bring the opportunities to believe God in them, and as He works our faith through them.  We must trust in God alone when pressure shakes us awake. 

"I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too many obtain that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory." 2 Timothy 2:10 (NIV)

My prayer is for God to bring the heat to see Him more clear.

"So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen." (NLT).  Timothy continues to inspire us, as Paul's sidekick in faith, with this encouragement in 2 Timothy 2:13:  "This is a sure thing: If we die with him, we’ll live with him; If we stick it out with him, we’ll rule with him; If we turn our backs on him, he’ll turn his back on us; If we give up on him, he does not give up— for there’s no way he can be false to himself."

God uses the pressure of life's trials to trample out the fullness of His power and thereby, we, as believers and followers will experience His glorious riches that only be found in the fire. God never leaves us searching for healing in our brokenness. He will never leave us weak, lost or looking for Him.  Only God can convert life's pressures into His purposes.

What can you do to better see adversity coming so you don’t go running?

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