When I was young and would observe adults, role-models, and heroes marked by hypocrisy, responding selfishly to tragedy, or giving in to sin, it was a mystery to me. "There must be something I don't know..." I would rationalize, "to make all this brokenness a normal condition of the heart of believers...". It didn't line up with the overcoming power of Christ I would read about in scripture or hear testified at the pulpit.
The older I get and the more I see, hear, experience & study, the more sincerely I believe it boils down to the LACK of doing certain things that lead to compromise rather than any THING that could happen to a believer. A slow fizzle out of First Love type things, a lack of diligence and vigilance against the lies & schemes of the enemy and wrong heart responses (based in wrong beliefs about God & His good plans) turns a person cold more than any tragedy, circumstance, temptation, etc. ever could.
Beloved, this is the admonition from Jesus to you today:
Build your life upon the Rock. Do not build your life upon the sand, do not be swayed by false doctrine that seeks to appease human experience apart from scriptural truth. Continue to do the things you did at first! Return to first love, kiss the Son.
THIS is what Jesus means when he beckons,
"Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
Why do so many of my brothers and sisters fall away, live in torment and become victims of circumstance? I can tell you truthfully + soberly, its NOT because "bad things happened to them", although no doubt bad things did happen. It is because they have thrown off his precious yoke.
YIKES! That sounds harsh. Yes it is, but oftentimes harsh things do not negate them as truthful things. If our experience doesn't line up with Scripture - only one of them is off-base and it is not scripture. Our heart is naturally bent toward deceit and frequently responds wrongly, especially toward things that hurt us deeply (whether self-inflicted or otherwise).
Consider Christ's response to crucifixion. Has He become a jaded, betrayed Christ - defined by the wrong done Him, disillusioned with the human race and apathetic toward those He saved from hell? NOT AT ALL!!! His passion, love and commitment toward us is blazing with passion and He "lives to make intercession" for us!!! Hebrews 7:25
Consider the apostle Paul and the myriad of sufferings he endured:
Constantly imprisoned, flogged repeatedly, nearly killed numerous times. Beaten, stoned, shipwrecked. Thrown about and in dangers from rivers, bandits and even his own people! In danger EVERYWHERE he went with hardly any allies to call friends. He labored, toiled, went without sleep, oftentimes went without food and was naked and cold.
Would any say Paul was NOT in the will of God? Would any say he failed his assignment!? Surely looking at all these HORRIBLE circumstances and attacks on him, SOMETHING MUST be wrong with him!?!?!
Did Paul end his life as a bitter victim of a man? Surely he must have... no. His life was built on the Rock and his exceeding joy was found in a resurrected Christ - a Savior that not even Death could hold back!
When our eyes of our understanding are ENLIGHTENED (and no, this is not a new-age contrived concept, its scriptural & biblical!!!), when we recognize the EXCEEDING riches of His glory of His inheritance deposited in the saints... when the scales fall off our eyes and we SEE that YES!
Jesus is the most pleasurable pursuit in the universe,
NOTHING will DETER us!
We will gladly sell all the garbage we have in order to gain the Pearl of great price.
It's a pathetic show of selflessness in comparison to what we gain: adoption into His family.
"Ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened - has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds..."
Be encouraged beloved <3