Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Today’s devotion is adapted from a recent post on Greg’s Blog. To read Pastor Greg’s latest blog entry, click here.
We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.
Some people believe in what we might describe as a watered-down gospel. This diluted version of the true gospel promises forgiveness, but rarely tells you of the need to repent of your sin.
It’s a gospel that promises peace and plenty, but never warns of persecution. It’s a gospel that says God wants you to be healthy and wealthy, and never have any problems to speak of. It’s a gospel that says you can so wrap yourself in God’s favor that there will always be a parking space available for you at the mall.
That is not the gospel of the New Testament. I can assure you that the last thing on Paul’s mind was “How can I find a great parking space?” He had other objectives that gripped his heart and soul.
Does this mean that God wants you to be sick, poor, and miserable? That He doesn’t want you to be happy? No, I believe that happiness will come as you really follow the Lord. But it is a byproduct, a fringe benefit of belonging to God in Christ.
The essence of the Christian life is knowing God and walking with Him.
It’s about sticking with Him when the sky is blue and also when it’s filled with clouds or choked with smoke. It’s about walking with the Lord through thick and thin, and pressing on through every heartache and trial that happens to come our way.
Jesus made it clear that storms will enter every life. But it is through these storms and hardships and tribulations that we will enter God’s kingdom.
As Dr. Luke phrased it: “And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God’” (Acts 14:21-22).
We don’t always like to read a verse like that. It’s probably not a passage we want to put on a plaque and hang by our front door.
We would rather the passage read, “Through many days of perpetual happiness, we enter the kingdom of God.” But that isn’t Scripture, and that isn’t life. Trials and tribulations will come.
Job said it well: “How frail is man, how few his days, how full of trouble!” (Job 14:1 TLB)
Copyright © 2009 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.
- This life will have its sorrows
- God loves us
- Jesus weeps in our times of pain
- God can be glorified through human suffering
Hope for Hurting Hearts, Pastor Greg Laurie’s new book, examines these truths, revealing God’s love and care for us, and shows how we can find hope, even in the midst of the most unbearable pain and sorrow.