Tuesday, June 27, 2017. The bible speaks about trials, which can happen to Christians. What is it that trials can be? We hear about it in different places of the New Testament, and we can summarize in two or three sentences: trials come from all layers of our life. Trials can be external, come from other people who do not want us well. But they can also come from close friends who think in a way different from God's love and truth, and they often come from within us. We are the cause of our trials ourselves.
We cause them …
It is really interesting that we are the cause of our trouble ourselves. If you think more about it, you will realize that this is quite natural. We are part of the world, and we are part of freedom. We are influenced by a lot of things, many of which do not try to follow God's love and mercy. Why should we be surprised if some of this, driving our own ideas, our emotions and actions, causes quite some trouble in our life? But let us read more about trials, as written in 1 Peter 4:
12 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. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory2 and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”3 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (from Ephesians 1 Peter 4)
Our Choices …
We do our choices. If we suffer because of evil choices - an example here is to be a murderer, thief or evildoer - we cannot claim that this is a trial. But if we suffer though we do well, then the blessings claimed by Jesus apply to us.
A good question is this: is our current suffering coming from our own mistakes or is it coming from the mistakes of others? Some of us tend to see their own failures in the center of events. Others never see their own failures in the center of events. It is partly character, but it is also the question whether we fully follow the guidance of Jesus, who leads us to insight into our sin and to repentence. That cannot go along with too much of self-justice.
There are various other things in the above passage from 1 Peter which deserve further attention. It talks about judgement - something our modern society does not really want to think about. We believe that it is our right to do our own choices - and God gave this freedom to us. He does not want robots. But he still demands justice, and judgement has been promised again and again.
But it also talks about judgement to start with us, with you and with me, when we believe in Christ. That is good, since God will help us to let go things which are evil. He helps us to get rid of bad things in our life, bad habits, bad choices, destructive attitudes. He helps us to discover fantastic things, great habits, love beyond measure … yes! And a truth which is breathtaking, deep and with eternal perspective. (Roland Potthast) ... more texts