Thursday, June 2, 2016

Seeing the red flags

Martin Luther, hero of faith and father of the Protestant Reformation, a former monk who exposed the corrupt practices of the Catholic Church in the 16th century and was persecuted and hated for the rest of his life because of it, wrote what God taught him through those trials in his commentary on the book of Romans: 

“Those speak foolishly who ascribe their anger or their impatience to such as offend them or to tribulation. Tribulation does not make people impatient, but proves that they are impatient. So everyone may learn from tribulation how his heart is constituted.”

We can’t blame our short tempers, fears or insecurities on the fact that we’re going through difficulties. It’s tough times that reveal the weaknesses hidden inside of us, like being in a crucible where we either burn up, or just steadily soften and become purified. Weaknesses are easily masked when life is calm, but then we never improve. Yet few people allow that softening to happen no matter how much heat they go through. Wisdom in spiritual warfare, resilience and a solid faith are priceless treasures that are instilled in us when we respond to trials correctly.  

When fears mushroom out of control, it’s a red flag that our faith is unstable, so we fight against the fear, and fight to build that tiny speck of faith into a powerful and effective one. When tempers flare, we can choose to channel impatience and anger against the devil instead of people, and willfully do the opposite of our emotions by showing love to our enemies even when it hurts our pride. When insecurities paralyze us from taking steps to better our lives, we defy our emotions, brace against the doubts and just push forward like bulldozers with the promises of God as our assurance. Every attack of the devil is an opportunity to attack back by countering temptations, and doing the right thing.

Grumpiness, bad moods and self-pity are red flags that your relationship with God is off kilter – that something can be done about it, and that God is waiting for you to stand on His Word, take action and fight! It means it’s time for some emotional housecleaning and a new boost of strength from the Holy Spirit.  

Let’s agree to stop blaming circumstances or people, to start acting against our emotions by shaking off these attacks of the devil and learning through whatever trial or tribulation comes against us. It’s amazing how quickly attacks can lose strength once we rise up against them in faith. The fact that we have Bibles available in over 530 languages today is due to the fighting faith of Martin Luther and many other pioneers of the Reformation and beyond. We not only bless ourselves when we learn to fight back with faith, we can bless the world. Have you noticed your red flags? Have you ever wondered what God’s been trying to teach you through this trial your facing?   

O Lord, You who know, remember me, and take notice of me, and take vengeance on my persecutors. Because of your longsuffering, do not take me away. Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke. Your words were found and I ate them. And Your word became to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of Hosts. I did not sit in the assembly of mockers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because of Your hand, for You have filled me with indignation.  Jeremiah 15:15-17 MEV

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