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"Used For Others"

Date published: 07/20/2016
Luke 22:31-32 31 "Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." (NIV)  

   We can learn to better handle trials and difficult times from today’s Scripture. Jesus is warning Peter of the temptations and difficulties he is about to experience. We learn two things in traversing difficult times and times when satan uses every difficult trial to sift your faith. The first is you need to pray into your difficulties – those you are in and those that are to come. As you pray know that, as a Christian, God has given you the Holy Spirit to not only support you during times like these, but to also guide you through them. The second is that the trial may not be about you, but others. This reminds me of what my wife tells me when I am joking around. My jokes often play off others by including myself in the conversation in a way I think is funny. My wife reminds me that not everything is about me! 

   It is so nice to have victories and positive outcomes in our difficult times. We should also be open to God using these difficult times as encouragement or teaching moments for others. Ultimately God’s work in your life is not about you, but about His kingdom. Who can be encouraged or helped by what God has done in your life? Who can be drawn closer to coming into a saving relationship with Christ from seeing the hand of God at work in you? Remember that it is not only in positive outcomes that God can use you in touching another’s life, but also in negative endings. Jesus promised joy… not happiness. Joy is reflective of Christ’s life in you, while happiness is reflective of positive endings to the things of this world. Jesus said in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NIV) Life is full of positive and negative outcomes; Jesus is the same no matter the results. Jesus said in Matthew 18:13 that there is more joy in finding one lost sheep, “I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.” (NIV) Next time you come out of a difficult time, praise God and ask Him how He wants to use that experience to further His kingdom

1 Peter 1:8-9 “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (NIV) 

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

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