In Trouble but not Troubled
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 (KJV)
In our previous study, Safe safe, we found that one has to endure first before they can be approved and then crowned. We learnt that the word endure means to remain or to bear up courageously. Endurance is the ability to remain in the same state even in adversity. It's the ability to keep trusting and praising God even in the face of adversity. It's the capacity to act the same way even in unfriendly and hostile circumstances. One who has endured is one who has consistently remained unchanged by the circumstances. The word temptation means to put something to proof by experiment, and the word tried or approved means that something has been subjected to adversity and found to be good. For example, in the ancient times coins and metals would be cast into a furnace to see if they are good and if they survived the heat they were approved. They were said to have been tried.
Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, "Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt." So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.Exodus 13:17-18 (NKJV)
One of the reasons why the Lord took the children of Israel to the wilderness by the Red Sea was to test whether they could trust Him for protection. Now as soon as they saw Pharaoh and his chariots coming they started complaining and wishing they had died in bondage. Hebrews 13:5-6 says, "…For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: " The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"". The children of Israel failed badly, for rather than having faith in Him they complained against Him. The Lord Jesus was faced with the same test when the devil set Him on the pinnacle of the temple and challenged Him to throw Himself down. The Lord Jesus knew that God would take care of Him, and so He needed not prove it to the devil.
If we are going to see a mighty move of God in our lives we are going to have such knowledge and assurance of God's protection that we won't be concerned with what people will think or say of us. There are a lot of Christians out there who can't pray out aloud leave alone lay hands on a sick person because of the fear of man. They are so preoccupied with what people will think of them if they found out that they speak in other tongues or something like that. The fear of man shall hinder the move of God in your life. Child of God, what Jesus Christ thinks of you is what really matters in your life, and He thinks of you highly.
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.Romans 12:3 (NKJV)
Notice Paul is not saying that you should think of yourself lowly, he says that you should not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. If someone told you not to put more than enough salt to the food they do not mean that you should not put any salt. You can put salt yes, but only that which is needed. That tells me that there is a way I ought to think of myself, and that is highly because the Lord thinks of me highly. The problem is in thinking of myself more highly, and so if I only think of myself as the Lord thinks of me it is high enough. I will think of myself just as highly as the Lord thinks of me, and He says in 1 Peter 2:9-10 that we (the church) "are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.", and that applies to me as an individual too.
Proverbs 29:25 says that the fear of a man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Yes, it's the one who trusts in the Lord who shall be safe. You need not be worried about what your friends think of you because that will prove to be a snare, and we all know that you can't do much in a snare. You just trust in the Lord and enjoy safety. Psalm 9:10 says that those who know the name of the Lord will put their trust in Him. This is not talking about factual knowledge of His name, it's talking of a deep knowledge where you become intimate with the Lord. It's the kind of knowledge where the knower begins to get influenced by the knowledge he has about the known person or object.
Though the children of Israel had seen God in self manifestation in Egypt, this knowledge never changed the way they reacted to situations. The knowledge they had of God never influenced them. Had this knowledge been of any value to them they would not have been troubled though they were in trouble. They would have praised God, not because He had delivered them, but because they knew He would deliver them. Trust is based on knowledge, and so if you want to trust God you will have to get to know Him. When you get to know Him you'll learn to trust Him and you'll see His power move in a mighty way in your life. You will stand still even in the face of adversity and you'll see God accomplish great salvation for you. Your knowledge of God has to be evident in the way you respond to circumstances.
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