How do we respond to the challenges in life? I am certain that we all have a different approach to circumstances that could have a negative effect on our faith. Christians know the Word, but to implement it in our own lives is another thing. To many Believers, the first response against an attack on their faith is to exhibit an arsenal of resources which are based on feelings and human emotions. Worry, fear, anxiety, and doubt play the role of pawns that block faith, trust, belief, and confidence from entering into the arena of conflict. These emotionally unstable pawns persuade the physical body to respond with things such as high blood pressure, ulcers, and sleeplessness. It is only when our pawns are wiped out that our spiritual weapons finally enter the conflict. Why do we feel that we have to initiate carnal responses before we can introduce the spiritual weapons of warfare? Why is it that the “first responders” are fleshly instead of spiritual? Maybe we need to look at the Scriptures and see how the early Believers dealt with assaults against their faith.
The Apostle Paul realized that complete trust and faith in God was the only way to be guaranteed a victorious life. How did he deal with tribulations and sufferings? He gloried and rejoiced in them! The reason he took that approach was to show God that his hope rested in Him. Paul knew that tribulation would work patience. Patience is one trait that Believers have a difficult time achieving. We want God to work things out yesterday, instead of waiting for God to develop spiritual character in us. Patience then develops experience. Experience is the best way to understand Biblical truths. We must come to a point where the Bible is to be experienced, rather than just read. When we act on the Word, Hope enters the picture. In other words, we are confident that God is in control and our “tribulations” will become a teaching tool in the hand of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:1-5)
Many times I have assumed a responsibility of acting on my own volition. Needless to say, I made decisions that led me on a spiritual roller coaster. During these periods of emotional conflicts, I would exhibit my “pawn emotions” which would only help to intensify the problem. I have to admit there were times I failed to practice what I preached! Some Believers have a condition known as “Biblical Gluttony.” We can be full of the Word, but unless we act on the Word, we become lethargic and ineffective during our times of testing. Some claim to know the Word, but fail to show the Word.
The next time we are faced with challenges to our faith, let us rejoice, knowing we are about to embark on a journey that will bring growth and spiritual development to our lives. Let us be patient as the Holy Spirit leads us through the difficult times. As we experience Divine intervention, let us learn through the challenges so we will be ready for the next assault on our faith. Let us take our emotional pawns off the board and let our spiritual arsenal be displayed!
The Apostle James also stressed the importance of expressing joy when faced with challenges to our faith. He showed how patience helps to establish the goal of spiritual maturity. (James 1:2-4) Joy and patience (longsuffering) are two ingredients of the Fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22, 23) Fruit is to be eaten as well as exhibited. As we digest the Fruit, people should see its growth displayed in us! When the problems arrive, let us keep our fleshly responses locked away, and start rejoicing at what the Holy Spirit is going to work in us through our times of difficulties!