Sunday, October 28, 2012

Don't be surprised at failure and DON'T QUIT.

1 Peter 4:12, 19 says, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you... Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good." (emphasis mine)

This is a heart-piercing passage that humbles the soul. Trial will come. It comes in all forms and in all degrees of pain. All trial is according to the will of God and serves to test us. We respond in at least three ways.

Don't be surprised. Many "American Evangelicals" hold comfort, safety, and prosperity as core values and entitlements. There is simply no Biblical guarantee to these things in this world. So don't be shocked when those things are pulled out from under you.

Entrust your souls. Put your faith not in shifting circumstances but in the gracious God who gives all things. He alone is secure. As a pastor it is really easy to put your faith in your people, in your abilities, or in your resources. God has a sometimes shaming and piercing way of driving us back to faith in Him alone.

Do good in the meantime. Don't quit on faithfulness. Having served as a pastor of an established church for nearly 4 years and now of a church plant for nearly 1 year I can admit that I've often thought, if I just do the right things (preaching the Word, shepherd the flock, shepherd my home, pray diligently, share the gospel, etc etc) God will bless and the church will flourish. Well, first of all I constantly fail to do all those things consistently. However, even if I did all those things in an exemplary way as I strive to, there is still no guarantee that my local church will flourish. Sometimes missionaries get their heads lopped off, sometimes faithful pastors lead churches that decline, sometimes, sometimes godly parents have children who leave the faith, and sometimes faithful evangelists don't see any fruit.

We are tested. We must be faithful. We must continue doing good while believing in Him who is ever faithful and will be glorified.

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