Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
God's Purpose in Difficulty
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Why does God allow difficulty to come our way? How should we respond to difficulty? What is God’s purpose in difficulty? These are good questions, ones that are asked often by those who find themselves in difficult circumstances. One thing the Bible is crystal clear about, and I have come to fully believe, is God has a purpose in allowing difficulty to come. Because of this, we do not have to let difficult circumstances rule our lives. We can live above them! The circumstances are not to be our focus. In this life we will have tribulation. But our focus must be on God! To do that, we must do three things.
First of all, as you experience difficult circumstances I want to encourage you to have confidence in God. Notice what Paul said to the Philippian believers: “For I am confident” (1:6). Paul expressed absolute confidence in God. His focus was on the One “who began a good work in you.” Therefore, he understood the responsibility was on God. He wrote that God would “perfect it,” that is, bring the work to completion. So, like Paul, you can have the full conviction that, through the work of Jesus Christ alone, you will be kept eternally and God will complete that which He has already started in your life!
Secondly, make prayer the priority of your life. Paul was in prison when he wrote his letter to the Philippian believers. However, he did not complain about his circumstances. Instead, he prayed. He did not pray, “God, get me out of here.” He prayed for others. He prayed for the further advancement of God’s kingdom. He wrote, “and this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ” (1:9-10). The use of the words, “approve the things that are excellent,” means to differentiate between highest matters and side issues. There is nothing like a little difficulty to cause us to really consider what is really important and what is not. So pray that through the difficulty you are experiencing God would allow you to discern what is important and what is not so important.
Finally, understand that God is up to something in the midst of your suffering. This is true even though most of the time you want be able to pinpoint what He is up to. Ultimately, we can say He is in the process of making us more like His Son, Jesus Christ. You should also understand that your life is a testimony to the world concerning the power of the gospel. God allows difficulty to further advance the Gospel. Paul wrote, “What then? Only in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed” (1:18). Paul understood that through his imprisonment (his difficulty) the Gospel was being proclaimed. Believe it or not, God uses your life and mine to proclaim the Gospel to a watching world. As you experience difficult circumstances you have two choices and only two choices. Either complain and belly ache and wonder why in the world God is allowing you to hurt, or by faith, have confidence in His purpose, pray, and understand that God is advancing His kingdom through your life!
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
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