I’m reading in 1 Peter this morning. Some of the passages are especially challenging.
“So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. … So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed…” (1:6,7, New Living Translation).
I don’t understand why God needs to use trials to test our faith. It feels bad. It seems there must be another way. But apparently there is not, because he is both all wise and all loving. Putting these together tells me that he is not playing games with me. This is serious stuff and he’s committed to me – both as his child whom he loves and as his child whom he knows will be happiest as I grow stronger and purer.
I was also finishing reading in James this morning. Ch 4:10 surprised me in NLT (which is why I like to read different translations from year to year). “When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.”
I’ve been convicted personally about my need to feel and express my dependence on the Lord more regularly, multiple times each day. It’s easy to drift into independence where the focus becomes the mechanics of the Christian life and the processes that lead to success (like sharing my faith with the guy sitting next to me; organizing successful conferences, etc.). It’s a fine line and it’s not very sharply defined. But a life truly dependent on God delights him. By this time in our Christian lives, many of us know the words, and I can trick myself into a feeling of dependence.
My prayer lately is that I’ll truly live out my total dependence on him. It pleases him. He loves it when it’s pure in my own soul.