At some point in your life you hear this phrase. “Tough times build your character.”
Then you think, “Okay, I have enough character!”
God promised us the more abundant life. Should that be enough to set us on the right track? After twenty some years studying the Word and bumbling through mistake after mistake myself, I’ve narrowed it down to three possible ways a person can fall on hard times, and but there’s only one way to prosper.
We Get Hit With Temptations or Pressures by the Devil and Fall into Hard Times.
Our bodies and minds are very frail sometimes. We get tricked into thinking something is a good way to react to a pressure, or temptation and YAMMOAHH we are down for the count. Diseases, sickness, pleasures and temptations come crashing in and we are tossed around like a rag doll.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” Ephesians 4:14
I had a time in my life in my late teens, early twenties when I’d go party with my friends. After a few beers you forget which one is the designated driver and things went down hill fast. This lifestyle can be a habit. Habits are hard to break. We can make a habit out of having hard times, but it really bites.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
In the end, the wages of sin is death. This is a principle. Death as in “corrosion”. It corrodes our heart, our mind, our life, our finances and our motivation. Life on this rock without abundance, blessings upon blessings and the wealth of understanding or growth that comes from getting God’s wisdom and input. The next way is…
We’ve heard the Word, but not enough to Believe on It
God has done a really huge thing for us. He gave us salvation but then he also asks us to renew our mind. God never does anything for us that He asked us to do for ourselves. It is on us to search out His wisdom. It is on us to learn His ways, His Word and His Will. He never forces it on us. It’s a personal choice to seek God and His truth.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16
What I’ve seen people do is this. God exposes them to a better way to live their life, a smoother way to operate or a “correction”. Some of you who are sensitive to these little corrections catch on quicker, but some of us slow ones need a few reminders. Let’s take these quick verses as an example.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;” Ephesians 5:1
The word followers is the Greek word “mimētēs” which means to mimick. So we are supposed to love like God loves, act like God acts. How do we find that out?
We go over to 1 Corinthians 13. This probably the most memorized and read section of scripture in the whole world. Keep in mind that God is LOVE.
“Charity (Love or Agape) suffereth long, and is kind; charity (love) envieth not; charity (Love) vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh (calculates and records) no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
This is a list of 15 characteristics of the love of God. God who is love is always longsuffering and kind. It or rather, God, is not easily provoked, nor does He calculate and record all our evil against us. If this is how He acts and we are supposed to be imitators of Him, it stands to reason that we should learn everything we can about these characteristics and try to incorporate them into our life.
When we know how we are supposed to act, but don’t do it. That’s on us. So we have to keep working on us. And really what would it hurt to work hard and do it? It’s not like we have to bleed and die on a cross or anything. Jesus Christ already did the hard part. We have the easy part! Lol…
Those kind of hard times make our prayer life a hit miss target practice. Our results are patchy and there are looming problems on the horizon.
The third way and the most dangerous way to mess up is…
We’ve heard enough of the Truth to believe, but choose not.
“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” Matthew 10:33
God is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t judge based on what our status is at church or how long we’ve been a deacon. He sees if we have fulfilled the conditions of the promises in His Word. Of course there is mercy and grace by the tons. But when our actions are deliberate, conscious and against truth, we have tied His hands of blessing.
Reproof is the correction of error that has become a habit pattern or a doctrine in our lives.
Here’s the facts, we can’t possibly know everything about God. Either He is all-knowing and all-wise, or He isn’t and He fits in our man-made boxes of religion. I was told once that it takes a huge amount of spiritual maturity just to believe that God is good always. Ha! Imagine that one for starters. God is ALWAYS good. If that is true, we can’t blame Him for all the sickness and death in the world, we have to blame someone else.
There is only one right way to prosper, to seek Him.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Seek and keep seeking. I know now that I have a long way to go before I get there. I’m always adjusting. In fact, just this morning I asked God who I need to apologize to and change my attitude towards. THERE was a LIST! Ha!
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10
I think that’s why humility is such a big deal to God.
On that note, God bless you today!