1 Peter 5 : 10 - 11, But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. NKJV
In recent weeks, the Lord has led me to write to you on the subject of man being created in the image and likeness of God. Today, the Holy Spirit has laid a specific word on my heart for believers who find themselves surrounded with troubles. As a result of the fall, sin defiled the heart of man. "Self" became the replacement for the authority of God, and the mind of man took the place of the voice of God as the final word on wisdom. The perverted lusts of man became the compass and the basis for poor and immoral decisions.
Now that we have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus and made complete in Christ, we must begin to allow God to strip the old man and his ways from us and begin to be renewed, once again, into the image of the One who has created us. This transformation will require us to suffer many things as we lose the heart for the world and gain a new heart for the Lord and His Kingdom. While we are kept in Christ, God can transform us from the image of the first Adam and into the image of the Last Adam, Christ.
Since we are human, troubles cause us to fear because situations are out of our control. Therefore, we must train ourselves to rely on the strong arm of the Lord. Once a believer begins the conversion process of becoming Christ-like, it will shake us down to the very core of our being. Nevertheless, according to Jesus and the writers of the New Testament, these things must come to pass, if we are going to overcome the flesh nature, and, ultimately, the things of the world, through our faith in Christ.
Peter admonishes us in his epistle not to think it strange when we're faced with fiery trials. Even so, James tells us to count it all joy when we fall into various trials. IT IS IN THE SHAKING AND THE SIFTING THAT WE BECOME ESTABLISHED IN CHRIST. It is through the hard and terrible trials that we learn where we should be firmly planted. Hard times in and of themselves can't make us like Christ. However, our faith in Christ during the hard seasons of life will make us Christ-like.
As we learn and grow in our faith walk, we will become established firmly in the Lord. At this point, I can only speak from my own experiences; in the past few years, while the world has been shaking all around us, I have become more unsettled than ever before in my life. The unsettling came as a result of the shaking... this was a part of my maturation process. God wanted me to stop relying on and listening to the soulish part of my being, which was crying out to keep control. Today, I saw a picture in my mind of God wrapping His arms around His children while the "shaking to mature" was all around us. He constantly tells us by the Holy Spirit and in His Word that He has us in His care. Nevertheless, we must come into agreement with that truth before we can begin to experience the loving embrace of our heavenly Father while the storms are raging all around us.
When we "FEEL" out of control and become shaken, we will try to console our flesh and bury the feelings with self-help tactics. These futile attempts eventually give way to the sinking feeling in our heart as we realize that it will take God in His time to settle and establish us. The way I have found that I am overcoming the weaknesses of my flesh and being established in Christ is confirmed with a peace that doesn't make any sense. As the peace grows in my heart and "keeps me" so that shaking no longer moves me to fear or self-protection, I can begin to know that God has been doing "a good work" in my heart and life.
Jesus said that He would give us peace, but it would be in the midst of tribulations. How will any of us know whether we're rooted and grounded in Christ if God never allows us to suffer or be shaken? The cause of the shaking isn't good, but the results of the process will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness and are good because God is good. So the next time trouble knocks at your door, remember the Words that God spoke to Moses at the banks of the Red Sea when they had no way of escape. Be still and see the salvation of the Lord. Let me leave you today with a perfect verse that sums up what I have tried to articulate.
Psalms 23: 4 - 5, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; NKJV
Because God is with you, you can walk through death and not fear. Because the Lord is with you, you can eat in the presence of your enemies. Why? Because He has established you in Christ, and nothing shall pluck you up.
I Feel a Praise About To Erupt,