In a recent comment in the Guestbook a friend wrote, ‘the default position of the Christian on life in this world is that it is hard’, and asked for my thoughts. I promised to share them on this page so here goes!
One of the unspoken thoughts that many of us as Christians experience when trials and afflictions come into our lives is “why is this happening to me?” Certainly today there is much unscriptural teaching around which says that God intends us to be healthy, wealthy and successful, and if we are not then the cause is sin in our lives. But even in many of those who would reject such false teaching, there is the feeling when trouble comes that somehow this ought not to be, and we are surprised and disappointed. We sometimes sing “This world is not my home I’m just a passing through, My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue,” but our lives seem to tell an entirely different story! Let me ask you the question that is the title of this website, “What is Your Life?” Is it your husband or wife, your family, your career? Is it the new house or car? Do you live as if this world is your home and you are going to settle down, enjoy it and don’t really expect to be leaving any time soon?
What does the Bible have to say about the Christian’s life here?
……….“cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;…… In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Gen 3: 17b :19
“He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness;” Deu 32:10a
“And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” Gen 47:9
“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Act 14:22
It’s not exactly a picture of Paradise and we should not expect it to be. The next time we ask “why is this happening to me, I feel I don’t deserve this,” let’s remember that is perfectly true!
We deserve worse, much worse! Hell itself.
It’s a Healthy Life.
Sooner or later it seems that everyone who attends a doctor’s surgery or hospital clinic is asked the question “what exercise do you take?” We are encouraged to take up some appropriate physical activity because the benefit to our physical health is without doubt. The same is true in our spiritual lives. This is what the Bible says,
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1Pe 4:12-13
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1Pe 1:7
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Rom 5:3-5
“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2Co 1:4
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” 2Co 4:17
It’s a Hopeful Life.
One of the great problems that Solomon faced was this, “All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.” Ecc 9:2
Although good and evil seem to come to all, yet God is particularly concerned and cares for His own people.
“For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.” Ecc 9:1
Perhaps you like the psalmist are tempted to envy the man of the world his seeming prosperity and easy life? He said,
“When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” Psa 73:16-17
This life is all they have, and afterwards…..a lost eternity in hell. How wrong it is for us as Christians to live before others as if this world is everything to us, giving no indication that we look for a glorious resurrection and future state. Paul said,
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” 1Co 15:19
As Christians in a dark and sinful world, should our lives not rather radiate the truth of these glorious words,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1Pe 1:3-9
What is Your Life?