Your Faithfulness is the Key. February 05, 2017
When life doesn’t seem worth living or feels like too much to bear, courage can come from setting our sights beyond our own plights to the hope of salvation and deliverance for others. – Beth Moore
Ever notice how people don't know how to respond when you're honest and say you're not okay? They stumble around trying to come up with something to say.
The truth is, today we have it a lot better than most KINGS did centuries ago. We have running, heated water, plumbing, roofs over our head, clothes on our backs, our choice of car, bus, train… and most days we really can’t complain.
But then there are those days where you’re just not okay. The days where your heart is in pieces, you’re struggling to hold back tears, and the smile that’s on your face is simply not genuine.
And yet, we stand there and pretend that we’re fine. We tell everyone we’re okay when it’s so far from reality because we’re under the impression that we have to keep up appearances.
How did we get there?
How did we let what other people think, or say about us become the standard to which we strive to live up to?
All that does is add unnecessary stress, pressure, hurt, and pain in this life which at times feels like navigating a mine zone.
Wearing the label “Christian” automatically places you on a pedestal. You will be held to a different standard than everyone else when people know you’re a Christ follower. It’s a real struggle there. I know, I’ve been there. It’s even more difficult when you work hard to make sure that you are careful with what you say and do only to have someone who claims to be a Christian, yet with one simple word or act, they manage to decimate everything you’ve established.
So let the letter that Paul wrote to Timothy encouraging believers to do what they know is right encourage you,
Share in suffering as a good solider of Christ Jesus. No solider gets entailed in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him…”
We don’t do it for anyone but Him, because He asks us to. That reason, and that reason alone is what should push us to keep our head high, and push forward.
But what about when it’s nearly impossible? You know the days I’m talking about? When you’re struggling to keep your head above water, every possible emotion hitting you all at once, out of nowhere. Those days where the enemy manages to take hold of every doubt and insecurity and blow them up in your face. It’s the moments where you just can’t help but cry out, “Why do I always have to be the one that’s doing the “right thing, doing the “good” thing when everyone else seems to have a lot less stress and a lot more fun doing it the other way?”
Encouragement this time, came in the form of conviction as Paul writes,
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!”
Paul was bound as a criminal for speaking truth, literally in chains, and here I am, comfortable in every way, complaining about walking the narrow road when it comes to friendships, boys, words, and actions!
Finishing the next couple of verses brings even more encouragement, and it was the answer to my previously anguished question about why I should choose to do the good and the right thing when it seems completely useless to,
“Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Why did Paul do it? For others to obtain salvation. Why should I do it? So others may obtain salvation. And that’s when it stood out. The simple phrase that was emphasized on the margin of the study meant to draw our gaze and make its way into the depths of our hearts,
“Your faithfulness is the key to somebody else’s faith.”
That’s it. You could be the key to somebody else receiving eternal life. Me. Y O U.
Let that settle into your weary bones for a moment; it’s a pretty heavy thing. But the more you revel in it, the more amazed you will become. That simple phrase means that absolutely EVERYTHING that you go through is a chance to show others that it’s not all about you and it’s 100% all about Him. Choosing to focus on that truth will help us to choose Him over ourselves.
I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy. In fact, the pain and the heartache, when we focus on it, when we focus on ourselves instead of the end goal, it will magnify everything and cause us to shut down, feel sorry for ourselves and lean towards the wide path instead of the narrow. In those heartbreaking moments, we become the selfish two-year-old instinctively; but we need to remember that, “Nothing about outward focus during inward pain is natural, but it could very well be our survival.”
Because the truth is that the sad, the heartbreaking, the hurt, and the tears are actually teaching us something if we will listen. Yes, it feels as though we are walking through fire, but that fire is simply refining us. And if we choose to learn from it the first time, not only will we not have to go through it again, but we can help someone else who is going through something similar.
And that leads right back to you being the key to someone else’s eternal life.
Yes, you are held to a higher standard Christian. You are placed on a pedestal, treated differently, and yes it is a struggle. But if that’s what it takes to show somebody else that God is out there loving them, then bring it on.
And when you fall, when you are not okay, don’t fake being fine, because then you are stopping Him from working with you, molding you, and you’ll just have to learn the lesson over and over again. Instead, walk through the fire with your head high and the knowledge that He is refining you, and when you do that, you get the chance to show others how unbelievably faithful, merciful, and loving He truly is.