Overcoming The Storms Of Life!
~A teaching concerning a believer's survival in times of trial and tribulation~
THERE IS A STORM COMING, BELOVED. It's been coming upon the earth for some time now, and not just the ones you're currently reading about. How will you handle it? If ever there was one warning that the Bible gives to all, it is this: everyone, at one time or another, will experience some type of storm in their life. This is an absolute fact, especially for believers: ". . . Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12).
The Bible does not teach that being a Christian is a guarantee of easy, trouble-free living; on the contrary, God tells us beforehand that the life of a believer committed to serve God will be full of trials.
God's Promise to Believers...
Understand this: God never promised you an easy walk; what He promised was that you would OVERCOME IN HIM. God says that if we build our lives on the right foundation, we will not only survive, but we'll be victorious.
In his parable about the storm and the builders in Matt. 7:24-27, Jesus teaches us that there are only two foundations to build on in preparing for the storms of life: the rock and the sand. So what do these foundations speak of? The rock speaks of the Word of God, the foundation of all truth. When we build our lives according to God's word, then we are assured of surviving the storms of life.
But the opposite is also true: if we build our lives on the "sands" of our human reasoning, carnal wisdom, and natural strength, then we will surely fall in the coming storms, "and great will be the fall" of our lives! How many people do we read and hear about whose lives have been destroyed by the sexual, political, marital, spiritual, mental and physical storms of life? There have been too many to count, and more are being added every day, even from inside the church.
God's Purpose in the Storm...
Child of God, understand this: God does not allow storms in the lives of believers to destroy them, but to strengthen them! It is God's intention that in our trials, we learn to seek Him, find our strength in Him, and learn to trust in Him! How many believers do you know who had to go through a storm before they became committed to prayer, study and worship? Those believers learned the truth of Paul's statement in 2 Cor. 12:9-10:
" . . . Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak (in myself), then am I strong (in Him)" (NIV).
Understand this, Beloved: it's not so much what you go through in a storm as it is how you go through that determines your outcome. Do you rely on yourself or on Christ? Do you respond in faith or in fear? Do you turn TO His Word or AWAY from it? Dear believer, your response during the storm will determine whether you're a victim or a victor!
The Lord God knows that, unless we experience some opposition, we will never learn what it is like to be overcomers in Him. There are no victors without a battle; there are no heroes without a war; there are no winners without a contest! Until you and I experience darkness, we'll never know what Light is! God knows that, like Paul, once we "taste and see" the Lord's power on our behalf, then we'll truly know that our help "comes from the Lord!"
Five Keys to Overcoming...
We are now going to share with you five keys that every believer needs in order to survive and overcome the storms of life:
1) Keep Your Perspective. It's easy to become disoriented in a storm; when believer's become disoriented, they can forget what is important and what is not. Remember: You're a spiritual warrior fighting a spiritual war, and you're fighting for spiritual life! It's not about money, prestige, position, or power -- it's about SALVATION! The root problem is not racism, sexism, socialism, capitalism, or denominationalism; the root problem is SIN! Recognize what's important and what is not!
2) Keep Your Commitment. One of the saddest episodes of Jesus' life was not the experience of the cross, but the experience of being deserted by the friends he was dying for. Many people make a decision to follow Jesus, but only a few have a true commitment to stay with him to the end! Beloved, God cannot use decision makers; He needs commitment makers! Decision makers change their minds at will; commitment makers stay for the long haul and see it through! So make a commitment to stand, fight, endure, and not quit!
3) Keep Your Standards. Beloved, God has chosen you to stand for something in this world. People are always watching how you endure the storm. Will you have fear or faith? Will you continue to love, or grow cold? Will you continue to confess Christ, or will you curse and complain? If you will hold fast to God's standard in the storm, then you'll bring glory to the Lord and victory to yourself in the end!
4) Keep To God's Plan. The Lord gives every believer a road map of life to follow in His Word. Yes, it's full of bumps, mountains, valleys and hills, but His map always, always leads to victory! Many a saint has derailed their ministry by seeking their own shortcuts and alternatives, but ended up making wrong turns and losing the path! Beloved, discover God's plan and stick to it! Go when He says go; stay when He says stay; fight when he says fight; pray when He says pray! And in the end, victory will be assured!
5) Keep Your Control. There are two types of believers in a storm; thermometer believers and thermostat believers. Thermometer believers are moved with the storm; when things are hot, they're overheated; when things are cold, they're freezing. They constantly change with their circumstances. But the thermostat believers do just the opposite; they determine what the outcome ought to be and they cause change by the power of God! They realize that they "can do all things through Christ who strengthens [them]!" We must remain in the driver's seat of our emotions, attitudes and thought life; then God can use us to change the storms! Remember: you were designed to OVERCOME!
~Pastor Ron Barnes