I know I’ve been off of the blog for almost a year! It’s been a hard year so far. Mostly I think because I’ve kind of sunk a little into depression. Nothing serious, but life seems to have lost a little of its luster. Maybe it’s because my anniversary is tomorrow and we would have been married 39 years if Allen had lived.
I’ve been doing a study on I Peter. The book I’m using is coming from the perspective that we are strangers here on earth. This is not our home. However, as I study, I’m finding I’ve strayed from that a bit and am starting to study verse by verse.
The first thing that hits me is that as a Believer, I am a part of God’s family. I Peter 1:3 says that we are “begotten” by God into a “lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” We also have an inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled. It doesn’t fade away and is being held in Heaven for us when we get there.
Wow! I have an inheritance! God has saved something special just for me! How awesome is that! I Peter 1:6 says that even when we are in heaviness (storms, trials, and temptations) we can rejoice because what we are going through here on earth will last for only a little while.
These things try our faith and the purpose is to refine us to make us more like Jesus. I have to think about that…can others see Jesus in me? Can He see His reflection in me when He looks at me? I find myself thinking I’m far from being that reflection of Him. The life of a Christian isn’t easy…it never was intended to be. My mind goes back to the phrase of a song I heard when I was in high school or college….”I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden.” That’s just what I think of when I remember that God never promised that our life as a believer would be without problems. In fact He tells us, “In this world you WILL have trouble. (John 16:33 NIV)
In order to go through the trials we face successfully, I Peter tells us we are to prepare ourselves. (I Peter 1:13 NIV) So, how are we to prepare ourselves? First of all, we are to prepare our minds for action.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:16)
I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. (Psalm 72:12)
Many times Satan starts messing with our minds, telling us things like, “no one understands” or “You’re all alone in this” or “God has abandoned you”. That’s where Scripture comes into play. God has so many promises that we can counter that “voice” in our heads that is telling us we are defeated. Mark 9:23, Isaiah 43:1-2, John 14:1-2, Hebrews 13:5, just to name a few. Diving into God’s Word and sinking His promises deep into our hearts helps us when we’re in the midst of the struggle. We can gain comfort and strength by clinging to His promises.
Another reminder is that these trials we face will not last forever. II Corinthians tells us that:
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (II Corinthians 4:17)
Spiritual growth comes when we go through the valley and rarely when we’re on the mountain top. It’s in those times of struggle that we find we MUST rely on God and that we cannot win in our own strength, power and understanding. Only then through a close relationship with Jesus are we able to come through the trial. When we have successfully endured we are refined like gold. (Job 23:10) It’s then that we become a reflection of Jesus and are strengthened and are able to stand with victory on our side.