God has not promised
that Christians will not know difficulty in life. "Everyone
who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."
2 Timothy 3:12. "If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed,
but praise God that you bear that name." 1 Peter 4:16. "Consider
it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything." James 1:2-4. What He has promised is
that He will never leave us; He will never forsake us, and those who believe
in His Son Jesus Christ for salvation will have ultimate victory and
nothing "will be able to separate us from the love of God that is
in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39.
True faith is not determined by circumstances. Mature faith
believes in the supernatural power of God because "nothing is impossible
with God." Luke 1:37. Mature faith also bows to the sovereign
purposes of God. "We know that in all things God works for the
good of those who love him, who have been called according to his
purpose." Romans 8:28. "For it is God who works in you to will
and to act according to his good purpose." Philippians 2:13.
I FOLLOW CHRIST
I have not seen clear statistical
evidence that fewer Christians die of cancer than non-believers or
that they are immune in greater degree from the diseases that afflict
the human race.
Some of the kindest, most selfless persons I
have known have had more than their share of bad health. The
fact that they belong to Christ did not insulate them from disease.
I will not follow Christ for promised healing.
I will not deny
or dispute evidence of restoration of health. I will rejoice
at every recovery from what seems to be hopeless, threatened death.
I will not hesitate to pray for recovered health for my loved ones
and acquaintances. I will set no limits on what God may do but
I will not follow Christ for promised healing.
I see no sign
that Christians escape disaster and accident more often than others.
I've helped dear friends empty muddy water out of dresser drawers
and new appliances after a disastrous flood. I remember as a
child taking clothes to a widow with five children whose house had
burned to the ground. A bullet makes no detour around the body
of a believer.
Therefore, I will not follow Christ for any promised
protection from disaster.
I will not scoff at amazing
survivals nor deny that providence has and continues to work for the
good of God's own. I will continue to pray for protection from
wicked men and tragedy, but I will not follow Christ for promised
protection from accident or catastrophe.
I do not observe that
Christians are especially favored with prosperity. Like James,
we've all seen the rich oppressing the poor and justice is rarely
perfect in this world. The psalmist has said that he "had not
seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" and in the
deepest needs of this life, that is certainly true but all of us have
known people of integrity who have not prospered.
I will not follow Christ for promised freedom from physical want or
hope of affluence.
I'm not sure that Christians have stronger
personalities or fewer neuroses than non-believers. I do know
that there is no bitterness like religious bitterness and no arrogance
more insufferable. I have watched Christians suffer emotional
and mental disabilities and though it may seem heretical, I am not
sure that I would really enjoy living in the same house with either
the Apostle Peter or Paul.
God wills that the mind of Christ
be formed in us and there is no doubt in my mind that the Christian's
attitudes and actions will be improved by his Christianity, but I
will not follow Christ for any promise of personality enhancement
Why then follow Christ? Why become a disciple
of Jesus when life may become more complicated as He so often warned?
one reason alone:
In Jesus we behold the face of God. He
is the truth, the everlasting truth, God in the flesh. I know
that in His life, death, and resurrection, I am reconciled to God,
the giver of life.
I believe that nothing can separate us from
the love of God. He has all power and goodness and I trust Him
and His promises. To him, I offer my life, damaged or whole,
brief or full of years. It matters not. He is the one
certain thing in an uncertain world. He is to be worshiped,
not so something will happen to me or to the world. Something
already has happened to me and the world, but because He is God who,
through Christ, has reconciled the world to Himself. He saves
me. He is my justification. He is the center that holds.
To worship the God of our salvation, to offer sacrifices of praise
and thanksgiving; that alone is our vocation. We offer
our lives to God, not so as to be healthy, wealthy, or wise, not even so
to gain the strength to do great things for Him; we offer our lives
to Him because He alone has claim upon us. God is not a means
to an end.
John C. Hutchinson Jr.
True faith is not so much receiving from God what we want, as it is
accepting from God what He gives or what He allows. True faith
is demonstrated by the complete surrender of the believer to the Will
of God, whatever that is! When we completely surrender to the
Will of God, we will find the true peace promised in Scripture, "Do
not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with
thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace
of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7.
Real faith is to center your life on Almighty God. Mature faith
believes in the supernatural power of God, and mature faith bows to
the sovereign purposes of God. Mature faith is based on the
steadfast promises of God and the greatest is this, "For God so loved
the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes
in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ today and you will be saved!