Written by His Grace,

Kevin K. OíConnor 

May 14, 2004

 

Main thought: to examine the thought that the greatest challenge to our spiritual growth is not our trials, but the lack thereof.

 

The Challenge of Riches

NIV

Matthew 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Whole Chapter: Matthew 19 In context: Matthew 19:23-25)

Mark 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Whole Chapter: Mark 10 In context: Mark 10:24-26)

Luke 18:25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Whole Chapter: Luke 18 In context: Luke 18:24-26)

 

How quick we are to judge those around us! How often do you find yourself praying for those loaded down with tons of financial blessings? Not too often iím afraid. And yet, these are the ones who according to Godís Word will have the greatest difficulty of entering into His Glorious Kingdom. Show me a person who has much worldly wealth and who knows how to lay it all at His feet, and Iíll show you a tremendous person of faith! How easy it is for us to cry out to God when our lives are filled with trouble and how difficult it is when our physical needs are met. We have so many things that work against our walk with God like our sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell and yet only one that works for it, faith.

 

Godís Word is clear what produces faith in us, and that is listening to His Word, and yet how can we listen if our senses are so filled with the things of this world that we just donít? 1 Peter 1:5-7 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

 

Godís Word is clear as to what refines and defines our faith, it is the difficulties that we go through, not the lack thereof. A confession of faith without the trials to test it is like a person who says theyíre a millionaire without the money in their account to pay the bills. Trials and tribulations are what refine and define our faith in our accounts of Godís Kingdom. Can a person of great physical blessings be a strong person of faith? It seems like anyone can be anything by the confession of the mouth by what makes the spoken word reality is the living it. The living it is not when all of our needs are met, but when the trenches rise up to meet us.

 

God bless the soul who has grown in the maturity with Him that sees beyond this life and who has great worldly wealth, one who knows that not one penny of this world matters to Him but what we do with it does. God help us who have had the benefit of trials and tribulations to pray for those who havenít had them. The fire, not the lack thereof, refines gold. Can gold be gold without the fire? Sure, but what proves the purity of the gold and its true worth is the fire. In fact, itís only in the fire that the gold can be refined. Oh how we assume that those whose lives are free from pain and suffering are people who please God. And yet Godís own Word tells us that He pours His blessings upon those who yet need to repent of their independence from Him; Romans 2:4 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? And then again, on the other hand there are those who are dear, beloved saints like Joni Eareckson Tada who has spent most of her life as a quadriplegic due to a diving accident in 1967 who has been denied the blessings of a fit and strong useful body and who has out of her pain and suffering blossomed into a true light for Christ. Following is a small excerpt of her bibliography; A diving accident in 1967 left Mrs. Tada a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, unable to use her hands. During two years of rehabilitation, she spent long months learning how to paint with a brush between her teeth. Her high detail fine art paintings and prints are sought after and collected. Due to her best-selling books, beginning with her autobiography, Joni, as well as having visited 35 countries, Joni's first name is recognized around the world. World Wide Pictures' full-length feature film, JONI, in which Mrs. Tada recreated her own life, has been translated into 15 languages and shown in scores of countries around the world. Mrs. Tada's role as a disability advocate led to a presidential appointment to the National Council on Disability for three and a half years, during which time the Americans with Disabilities Act became law.

 

And, notice what Godís own Word tells us of the trials that befall those who confess Christ as Lord; Romans 8:35-39 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36   As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37   Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38   For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39   Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Trials happen to Godís kids for the Glory of God. The Lack of trials happen to the unbelieving to lead them to a saving faith in Christ. Sure, there is coming a day when there will be no more sorrow and suffering, no more death and decay, but is that now Ė Hardly!

 

Instead of seeing the trials of this life as a punishment, we need to view them as opportunities to shine for Christ, to grow into deeper levels of understanding of His purposes through each and every one, the greater the trial, the greater the glory to God. No Wonder that Christ reflects the beauty of the Heavenly Father better than anyone else due to having suffered the most than any human who has or whoever will live. How we need to see as Paul who wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Whole Chapter: Romans 8 In context: Romans 8:17-19)

 

Heavenly Father, let the Love of Your Son consume us so that we may see the trials of this life as He did, only very momentary. May our heartsí first and foremost desire not be the comfort of our bank accounts or our health but the nearness of our hearts with Yours! Thank You Father for all that Youíre doing in our lives unto Your Glory, Honor, and Praise. In Jesus Glorious Name, Amen.

 

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