Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Training, Testing, Example

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”

Hebrews 12:1-7
 

This text concerns the endurance during testing and the example in these circumstances – Jesus Christ! Sometimes we just don't understand that, the things which we are currently experiencing, which is causing our difficulties, worries and tribulations, are testings which have a particular purpose. And also chastisements are not always seen for what they are, namely as measures taken by God to lead us, for training and to set our minds again on that which is essential and proper. Unfortunately, we are not able to receive God's instructions and advice for the day in huge neon lights shining upon our ceilings, instead we need to learn, as Christians, from within and without, to live close to God and be guided by the Holy Spirit in all matters. We are not underlings in barracks, but children of God, who are in relationships with the Heavenly Father, and should live as such – every day! Our experiences and confrontations are not always to our liking and are sometimes very challenging. Even this has a reason and a purpose – we are clearly not in the “Pamper Club of the Saved”, but, rather in the “Refining Pot of Sanctification”. In Proverbs 17:3 we read: “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts.” God's testings will not take place at a table, but in the daily practice. Concerning our faith, we are probably all world champions in theory, however, in practice we too often fall terribly short – this applies not only to you, but most certainly also to me. However this can (and will) change – in little things as well as big things and everything that happens in-between will be for our own good (Romans 8:28) – even if we don't see it immediately or understand it. If it was not so, then there would simply be a three-month heavenly crash course for sanctification and the matter would be settled. But, it takes longer – our whole life long. Why? Because God wants to do it exceedingly well and wants to prepare us for eternity.

We are not redeemed and then wrapped in cotton wool, molly-coddled and placed on a shelf where we are occasionally dusted, on the contrary, we are transformed by God into the image of Christ, to the highest power and authority, throughout our lives as Christians and throughout all our ups and downs. From Jesus, we know amongst other things, what we read in Romans 8:29: “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” This is the noblest, highest goal, and the best a person can be – an image that is similar to God. That was also the will and purpose of God in the beginning (Genesis 1:26). God accomplished this through Jesus Christ – not by snapping his fingers, but through the incarnation, the Gospel, the blood of Jesus, faith and sanctification. We receive the full package – nothing less – and we should never underestimate this! We should in fact reach for this and ask God to change us more every day and let His will be done in us. The scripture in Hebrews speaks of a great cloud of witnesses. Witnesses of what? Of the fact that these people lived and experienced God throughout their entire lives, during all their ups and downs and were useful to God and for each other. That should give us courage. They also had their troubles and weaknesses, their irritations and fears. They were most probably also often disappointed in themselves and sometimes thought it better to rather be dead than alive. But, they overcame everything, they overcame themselves because they had faith in THE Overcomer and God ensured that they were able to hold fast to their faith – 1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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Zur deutschen Originalversion: Erziehung, Prüfung, Nachfolge


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