I have written a lot lately about spiritual warfare and fighting the proper enemy. Our warfare tends to be defensive instead of offensive. Or I know mine does. I seem to be caught off guard from time to time because I have let my defenses down. Today, I want to approach spiritual warfare and the battles we go through from a slightly different angle.
James 1:2-4 - My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may perfect and complete. lacking nothing.
How are we supposed to count all of our trials joy when sometimes we feel as though we are being crushed and pressed in from all sides? Because:
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 - We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
You see...no matter what we go through...no matter how hopeless it all seems or how difficult the trial or tribulation, we are never crushed, never desperate, never forsaken, and never destroyed. Sometimes we can feel as though we have been beaten, bloody and bruised. But yet...we are to count trials all joy.
Romans 5:3-5 - And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
We are to glory in the trials and battles we face. I will say we could even give thanks for them, because we are being transformed through those trials. Our character is being molded into what God would have us be. Through these trials, we develop hope. Hope that the love of God has been, will be, poured into us through the Holy Spirit. We have things, character traits, that belong to our "old" man that must be crucified (put to death) on a daily basis. The trials and battles we face help to build the things of the "new" man or our new nature that are pleasing to God and allow us to grow and mature.
1 Peter 5:10 - But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
The purpose of the trials and battles we face are to perfect us; to establish us in His Kingdom, and to strengthen us. We cannot be strengthened without working out. Our battles, trials, and tribulations are our spiritual workouts. Our faith is strengthened, our patience is strengthened. We learn to rely on the grace and mercy of our Father to see us through each one.
When we are in the middle of trials and tribulations and feel we are being persecuted we can so easily lose sight of the fact that our God is a very present help in the time of need. (Psalm 46:1)
Isaiah 41:10 - Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
You see...God said He is always with us. That doesn't mean some of the time or just when we are in good times. That means ALL the time...ALWAYS. When we are in the middle of struggles it can be difficult to remember that all we need to do is ask for help. He said He will strengthen us. He will give us the strength to endure...to persevere...through whatever the situation is. We don't have to do anything on our own. In fact, we can't.
John 15:5 - "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
The branches of a tree cannot exist without the sustenance the tree provides them. The branches must have the nourishment of the tree trunk and the strength from the root system to continue to live. Without Him with us always, we could not make it through each day. We could not live. We cannot bear fruit. We cannot weather the storms of life..the trials, tribulations, or persecutions without His constant presence giving us the strength we require to grow.