Many of us, being biblically saved Christians have noticed that the more we walk along this road, this Ever Narrowing Way, the harder life gets.
We notice that God is forever purging, stretching, crushing and working us over in many ways.
Why does He do this? In order to conform (or stretch) us into the shape of Christ Jesus. He does this through tribulations, trials and test. Paul said that only through many tribulations shall we enter heaven (Acts 14.22).
This doesn’t mean that if we suffer lots, we get to go to heaven. It means God uses these tribulations in order to rid us of the impurities that make the gold of our hearts less pure. It means He does this in order to loosen our hold on earthly desires and things. It means He does this to drive us to our knees in humility and prayer.
In other words, He brings these trials across our paths, in order for us to emulate Christ Jesus Himself. And in doing so, He brings us to that place where we reflect Him, instead of ourselves.
One thing has really been uncovered in my heart lately, and it’s one of those things where everyone goes, “Yeah, I know that…so?”
I did too, but there’s a difference between knowing something intellectually and knowing something down deep inside your very being.
God brings hardships, trials and suffering into our lives, for two reasons:
It brings Him glory and because HE LOVES US.
We are programmed since childhood to believe that if life is good, we are healthy, wealthy and happy. If we are having trials and hardships, it means something is wrong.
This goes completely against the truth of God’s word. We are told, that who God loves, He scourges (Hebrews 12.6). This means that whom God accepts as His child, He will whip, beat and discipline. Whoa! Doesn’t exactly sound loving, does it?
That’s the problem, we compare that behavior to hate and anger, but God disciplines us out of an intense love that none of us can even comprehend.
The world says if you love someone you give them gifts, and make life as easy for them as possible. God makes life as hard as possible, because He wants the best of come out of us, and destroy that which is selfish and rebellious.
Which way do you want it? Honestly. We all know the answer, because it’s been ingrained in us all our lives.
We are also told that we must strive to enter the Narrow Gate (Luke 13.24). The word strive means to agonize or struggle. It’s a hard life. It wears us out and crushes us to nothing. The Christian’s life means we end us thoroughly used up, emptied out and ready to go home to our rest when it’s over.
Very few Christians have ever died in their prime, strong and healthy. Those whom God has chosen will be used and used up before they die.
Now the opposite must be true.
What does it mean when God “blesses” someone with riches, fame, popularity and health? It means He hates that person and is giving them what they want to destroy them.
Hard to embrace, I know. But there is a saying that rings true here, and it’s very true:
This life is the only hell we will ever know, and this life is the only heaven the world will ever know.
If you are biblically saved, and you are facing mountain after lofty mountain and the valleys seem to go on forever, then it means God loves you and is taking a personal interest in purging you of your sin, selfishness and rebellion.
If you are finding life easy, full of laughter and fun, wealth and happiness, then God is taking a personal interest in you to heap on the sin in order to destroy you.
Now look at your life and examine yourself. Where do you stand?