What You Ought to Be
Have you ever looked at another Christian and thought, “They’ve got it made! They’re so blessed of God!” And blessed they seemed, for they had what you wanted. Maybe it was a great marriage—a mate who loved Jesus. Maybe it was children who seemed to love the Lord and desired with all their hearts to serve Him. Or maybe they had the type of relationship with their children that you longed to have but didn’t. Maybe it was a seemingly more successful ministry. Maybe it was material blessings that hadn’t kept them from loving Jesus. Maybe it was . . . You fill in the blank with whatever seems ideal to you, my friend, whatever you want so badly but don’t have.
If you have felt this way, I have to admit I understand. If I am going to be perfectly honest, I have to tell you I have been there. As a matter of fact, I have had to watch envy in my life at times because I saw my friends in situations and relationships that I have longed for. Can you relate? What is envy all about? It’s really a form of disappointment. We are disappointed because God didn’t allow us to have what someone else has.
We look at the goodness of God in someone else’s life and wish we could experience the same. This brings me to my next question.
How often have you heard someone say, “The Lord has been so good to us” as they shared something good that just happened to them? I’ve heard it often . . . as a matter of fact, from my own lips. Yet when I say or hear an expression like this, it crosses my mind, “Would it be said if something hard, painful, or even bad had happened instead?” Would we say, “The Lord has been so good to me”?
The answer is, “Not likely.” We seem to only associate blessings with the goodness of God. However, to do so is to be ignorant of the purpose of trials—of difficulties, hardships, and testings—which suddenly invade our lives and do not seem to invade the lives of those we’d like to be like.
The trials seem to be robbers bent on stealing our joy or our sense of God’s blessing and goodness.
How earthbound we are! How temporal our perspective! To the child of God, even trials are to cause us to rejoice! Remember what James has to say:
“ Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
Although we have already touched on this passage in James, there is more I want to share with you so that you can know why disappointment is not to be entertained in
Why does God tell us that we are to count it all joy when we encounter a trial? Because all trials have a purpose. That purpose, as you have read, is to make you perfect and complete, lacking nothing. The word for “perfect” is teleios, which means “complete or mature”—in essence, Christlike.
Because trials are permitted by God, filtered into your life through His sovereign fingers of love for the purpose of making you and me like Jesus, you can know, Beloved, that no child of God is exempt from trials.
Those who seemed so blessed of God, those whom you might have a tendency to envy, are going to endure trials also if they are genuinely His. However, their trials will not necessarily be the same as yours. Do you know why? Because, Beloved, you are not the same.
You are uniquely you. God has His own individual set of circumstances that He will use to refine and purify you so that you will come through the fire of affliction with the dross of your ungodliness consumed.
Read [esvignore]John 21[/esvignore] in preparation for tomorrow’s study. As you do, look for anything in this chapter that would demonstrate the fact that trials vary according to our own uniqueness of character and purpose. Write out your insights.
This blog post is excerpted from the out-of-print 30-day devotional “How to Stand Firm Against the Five Deadly D’s” by Kay Arthur.