Students realize that God does not intend the life of a Christian to be without difficulty but through difficulty, with Him by our side, He prepares us for Himself.
2 Cor 4:8-14, Phil 1:29, 2 Cor 1:8-10, 1 Peter 1:6-9, 1 Peter 4:12-16
Packers "Knowing God", chapter 21
The Back Door:
There is a certain aspect of the Gospel ministry which is often omitted. Often times when we are trying to bring someone to the Lord we stress the difference that will be made in once life by accepting Jesus Christ. One of the most common evangelical tracts, the Four Spiritual Laws, has a small graphical model at the end that describes the difference between life before and after conversion. It looks something like this.
The left circle represents the man before turning
his life over to Christ. the circle on the right afterwards. The
S on the chair represents self on the throne, the Cross represents
Christ. The black dots in each circle represent the elements of
one life such as job, family, health, relationships, etc. They
appear random in the left circle and ordered about Christ in the
The message given with this graphic is that not only
will a man find forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Christ
but he will also find peace of mind, spiritual guidance, and order
in his personal life. He will be able to overcome sins that previously
mastered him, his relationships will be repaired and if we are
not careful we might leave him with the concept that his life
will begin to follow that "golden road" he has long
Now in general this will be true for each believer
someday, but it is possible, and common, for a believer to sell
the gospel as a golden road and have the new Christian go away
with the idea the world, the flesh and Satan will not give him
any more trouble. For what really happens to the new believer
as he starts his new life in Christ, is ;
Now if the new believer has been "sold"
the "good" life, he will be very disappointed when it
doesn't appear and he may begin to doubt. He may ;
And worse yet, if the new believer is attended by
well meaning Christians who regard experiences of frustration,
difficulty, depression, perplexity or continued illness as signs
of sub-standard Christianity., the new believer may be sent on
a search for some other spiritual method of achieving the good
You see some Christians have come to equate the "struggle"
of Christianity with the complete defeat of sinfulness mentioned
in Romans 6:1 - 11. They apply these verses to all situations
of difficulty in ones life. The problem with this is that it is
not scriptural it is miss-scriptural. If you read only the first
half of 1 Thess 5:9 you could build a case that indicates we have
not been appointed to suffer, and therefore should not expect
to suffer. The second half of the verse however makes clear that
it is Gods wrath we are not appointed to suffer. The truth
is that God continues to expose us to the rough aspects of this
world including -
Students Teach Students:
Key Message: When difficulty
appears it is good to check our path and be honest about ourselves.
Perhaps their is a behavior that needs to be changed. But scripture
makes it clear there are multiple kinds of suffering -
When we get caught up in foolish things wholly on
our own that cause suffering . We need to remember what Proverbs
|My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Prov 3:21-24 (NIV)|
Key Message: Difficulties
for believers are a part of Gods plan. Exposure to them while
having the Holy Spirit living within us helps us be "immunized"
against them. These exposures increase our powers of resistance
to the evils in which they are based. Here we see that God wants
|"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. John 17:15 (NIV)|
2 Cor 3:18 tells us of the "transformation"
which is occurring in us. Some Christians expect the Holy Spirit
to do this entirely inside us through some sort of magical method.
The truth is that much of the transformation is done through exposure
to this world and its suffering while having the Holy Spirit and
other Christians to rely on for strength and encouragement.
Does God answer prayer? Yes. Does God protect his
loved ones? Yes. But usually God does not shield us from the world
- but rather by exposing us to all things, he overwhelms us with
a sense of our own inadequacy. Why? So that we will learn to seek
Him and hold him fast. You see when things are going great, few
men will seek God. The following poem on the next page sums it