1 Corinthians 16:13-14 "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love."

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Much Needed Reminder

I just read this weekly devotional from the pastor of Calvary Chapel Cape Town in South Africa. It really hit home with me and I just wanted to share the blessing.

Trials and Triumphs
July 7th, 2011

"He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze" (Psalm 18:34).

The great military commander of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, once said: "To have good soldiers, a nation must always be at war." Prolonged periods of ease and inactivity do not produce strong armies. In our Christian lives the same is true. We need to be actively "fighting the good fight of the faith" in order to grow and become spiritually mature (1 Tim. 6:12).

This is the reason that God permits trials and tribulations. Growth happens in adversity. Tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance produces Christian character (Rom. 5:3-4). Never seek to avoid the battlefields of life. They are essential for the strengthening of your faith. It is there that Christ trains your hands to make war. As the Captain of your salvation (Heb. 2:10) and the Commander of the army of the Lord (Josh. 5:14), He stands with you and strengthens you in the battle.

Look at Simon Peter. When Satan wanted to sift Peter as wheat, Christ stood with him. He prayed for Peter. "And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.'" (Luke 22:31-32). Why did Christ allow this severe sifting? Read the verse again. It was essential for the strengthening of his faith. Through his sifting, Peter would learn to depend less on himself and more upon Christ. He would learn to rest in the unfailing grace of God. Furthermore, his battle training would equip him to effectively minister to the other disciples. In this sense, Peter's great trial ultimately became his triumph!

I hope that these scriptures will help you to understand why you and I encounter many trials and challenges in our lives. Trials lead to triumphs! James tells us that hardships, more than anything, produce perseverance in us, and make us "perfect and complete" in Christ (James 1:4).

In His strong love,

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