Where can you find Christians wholly devoted to the Lord who have easy, trouble-free lives? Show me a Spirit-led, God-filled follower of Christ, and I’ll show you one who is chased, chastened, often baffled, and well-acquainted with deep waters and fiery furnaces.
Those who seek to avoid difficulties seldom get the revelation of God’s fullness. They attempt to use faith to exempt themselves from crisis, not realizing they are robbing themselves of the greatest opportunity to find out what they are made of. Then one day when trouble inevitably shows up, they cave in, having no proven source of inner strength.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul prayed, “that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16 NKJV). He was saying that the Lord needs Christians who are not tossed about by every wind and wave of doctrine; who have discernment; who aren’t seeking out the next charismatic teacher with a “new revelation”; and who do not depend on others for their happiness and spiritual strength. He needs people who have been tested and demonstrate that the very life of God is in them. They draw their sustenance from their inner man who has been reborn through grace in Christ Jesus.
We can learn valuable lessons from King David’s experience when he and his men came upon the utter devastation left behind by the Amalekites at Ziklag. Although his heart was anguished, “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God”(1 Samuel 30:6). It is imperative that we also know how to encourage ourselves in the Lord so that we are prepared when trouble comes our way.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I beseech you to open your eyes to the mighty power of God at work in you, and to appropriate the completeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter what fiery furnace we may be cast into, our God will walk us through it.