How do you normally handle tough times?
Are you someone who meets challenges head on… or do you prefer to stick you head in the sand and hope the problem goes away?
When you are met with failure, do you beat yourself up… or look for the lesson to be learned?
When things go wrong, do you blame yourself…or someone else? Are you able to see that sometimes you need to accept responsibility and sometimes things are out of your control?
When you are successful, do you pat yourself on the back and tell everyone how great you did…or do you realize you couldn’t have accomplished it without God’s help?
How you handle these things tells a great deal about your relationship with God and how mature you are in your walk with Him. (Hint: no one handles these things perfectly. No need to beat yourself up, just acknowledge your tendencies and be intentional about growing in Christ).
You might be wondering what this has to do with Building a Framework of Hope…
As I mentioned in the previous post, to have hope, we must learn to endure hardships.
How we handle difficult times (and achievements) says a great deal about our maturity.
James 1:2-4 puts it this way:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
To grow and mature, it’s important that we pause from time to time to look back at where we’ve been, analyze where we are, and identify where we are going.
It’s my prayer that the tough questions I pose will help you accomplish this.
I also endeavor to help you recognize any areas, or ways, you are trying to make God fit into your life instead of you conforming to His.
I know I’ve often prayed with the motive of trying to gain God’s favor, or change His mind about the answer He is giving me.
It’s taken a great deal of self-reflection, honesty, and asking God to reveal the planks in my eyes for me to realize that I don’t trust Him enough to wait for His timing and His will to be done. I want things done my way and in my timing. I’ve tried forcing God to be whom and what, I believe I need. This has hindered my walk with Him, my growth in Him and my fellowship with Him.
I’m guilty of trying to build upon the foundation He laid for me MY way, instead of His.
I’m guilty of trying to make God’s Word compatible with my lifestyle, and personality, instead of allowing Him to refine me through the fire.
I’m guilty of wanting to dictate my relationship with Him. How much I’m willing to follow and where I’m willing to go. What I’m willing to give up and what I want to hold onto—regardless of what He says. At times it’s like I’m a toddler sticking my fingers in my ears so I won’t hear Him.
Truth is: Trials refine us. They get rid of sin in our lives. They point us toward our need of God. They mature us. They increase our faith. They build our hope. They help us endure. They give us joy.
1. Are you trying to dictate what is being built upon the Foundation of your Salvation or are you open to God’s plan, even if it’s includes pain?
2. Going back to the opening questions, does your behavior indicate you’re growing closer to God or keeping Him at a distance?
3. Are you trying to make God fit into your life or are you conforming to His Character AKA becoming “Christ like”? Remember, sins (even “small” sins) inhibit our fellowship with Him and make it hard for us to see the planks in our eyes. Ask God to show you any planks you’re unaware of.