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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Struggle? Hardship? Trial? Think Again: God Fights For You!

I had an interesting little reflection today about what the human struggle is really about. This follows on from my previous blog post 'How is Your Worship?' in which I discussed the 'This is Water' speech by David Foster Wallace (DFW). In this speech DFW also discussed how we never really think about the struggles that other people go through. That when one person cuts you off in traffic you want to curse them and not think that perhaps they are having just as rough a day (or more rough) than yourself. 

The same goes for when people come against us and attack us. I had a situation today (to do with others) that made me think about this. We have a tendency to want to attack back, to fight. But the Bible says in Ephesians 6:10-12 "10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Our battle isn't against people and this is where we have to start.

In Luke 6:27-29 Jesus commands the following: 27 “'But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.'"

This is completely contrary to normal human feeling and rationality. Justice dictates that we give back what we have received in turn. That we hurt those who hurt us: such is the ruling of a broken world. But Jesus, God himself as man, commands that we do good to those who do bad. There is a dichotomy to how God does things to how we do them.

And you know why God wants us to bless others? It's because He himself will be and wants to be the one to fight our battles for us. Isaiah 59:15 -17 says this:

"15 Truth is lacking,
and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no one to intercede;
then his own arm brought him salvation,
and his righteousness upheld him.
17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak."

This correlates to the idea of the armour of God in Ephesians 6 in which righteousness is a breastplate and salvation is a helmet for the Christian believer. But here it is also an armour which God himself wears into battle as the righteously vengeful God. God fights for us and He gives us His own armour to wear. To paraphrase Romans 8:31 "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Some of us feel that there are trials which are too much for us. Struggles which we can't overcome by ourselves. Potentially this is because we aren't stepping back and recognising that God is the Lord over this situation. But maybe it's also a different attitude that holds us back. Maybe God is testing us and we need to recognise that He believes and knows that we can overcome these situations.

As 1 Corinthians 10:13 says "13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." There is no trial or test which you will go through that God does not believe you can handle or endure. Sometimes you just need to change your mind to the new mind of Christ.

I finish with this from 2 Corinthians 5:16-20: "16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:a The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

God desires for us to be His chosen people, to worship Him alone. In order to do this we must truly recognise that Jesus Christ died and rose again for us, so that we can be NEW CREATIONS. And if you are not a Christian but are wondering what you have to do it's as simple as believing that Christ rose again and confessing with your mouth that He is Lord of your life. This process involves turning from your old ways of sin and living again as a New Creation. Someone who no longer thinks the way they used to. You won't be perfect now, but you will be one day.

To any believer reading this I challenge you to shift your paradigm. Think as a New Creation and remember that you are more than a conqueror. Give your battle to Christ who fights for you, and recognise that you can handle whatever trial you are going through right now because God himself will not let you fail. You may not overcome on your own, but with God all things are possible!