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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Delighting in Affliction"

Date published: 01/13/2019

Psalm 119:71 “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (NIV)

 

   I recently caught the flu.  As the flu symptoms deepened through my body, spontaneous praise and thanksgiving broke out in my spirit and voice – not!  I actually moped around like a sick puppy.  On the third day of the flu, the Lord impressed through Psalm 107:31 the reasons why I could be thankful for the flu: “Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men.” (NIV)  Not having severe symptoms allowed me some time to recharge and refresh in the Lord.  The flu was not a great experience, but I became excited over the opportunity of my new found time for growing closer to God.

 

   My natural instinct when difficulties and hardships occur is not to thank God, but more often than not to fret, worry, and complain about what is happening.  Psalm 119:71 powerfully teaches about the opportunity to allow God to speak into my life.  What a bonus God offers in affliction!  Imagine at my worst times I get the opportunity to receive God’s best!!! 

 

   My problem in not reaping God’s best is not due to what God does, but my lack of attentiveness to what He is doing in my life.  God has given me His armor.  My lack of intimacy and passion in my relationship with Christ causes a chink in God’s armor.  Psalm 119:92 perfectly instructs me on repairing the chinks in my armor: “If Your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” (NIV)  I must allow the Creator of the universe to be my sole delight, so that He can cover me with the magnificence of His love, grace, and protection.  Seeing, knowing, and experiencing more of God takes us to a new level of understanding our position with Him.  Psalm 100:3 shares a fundamental principle in living this way: “Know that the LORD is God.  It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” (NIV)  I must first believe there is a God, and then dwell in Him.  All that we are in Christ and all that will happen in our lives will flow out of this relationship with Jesus.  I must live my life in Christ by constantly feeding on Him.

 

   Taking in these truths gives us great cause to live in thankfulness and praise.  Next time you are afflicted, circumstances thwart you, or you suffer, respond as Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:13: “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (NIV)  Ask God to cultivate a heart response that leaps over adversity into the loving hands of Jesus as you touch and experience God in ways that are often never possible without affliction.

 

James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (NIV)

 

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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience:  “Hard Times” and “Deeper with God”