Category Archives: Growth in Life

GOD WON’T GIVE MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE:

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First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” This Scripture teaches us a wonderful principle. If we belong to Him, God will not allow any difficulty to come into our lives that we are not capable of bearing in the power of Christ. With every temptation and every testing that comes our way, God will remain faithful to us; He will provide a way to endure the test. We do not have to give in to sin. We can obey God in every circumstance.

So, we have divine encouragement in our Christian walk. The prayer “Deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13) will be answered. However, these promises do not mean we will never face trouble; on the contrary, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33a). The key is found in Jesus’ next words, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b).
Paul and his companions were sorely tried as they took the gospel into new areas. This is his testimony: “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death” (2 Corinthians 1:8–9). It sounds like Paul was tempted beyond what he could bear—“far beyond.” This fact leads us to another truth: our strength to endure testing and temptation does not come from ourselves; it comes from God. That’s exactly what Paul says next: “This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God” (2 Corinthians 1:9). Paul continues with praise to the Lord for His deliverance (verse 10) and an emphasis on the efficacy of the prayers of the church (verse 11).

Anything that comes our way, anything that tempts us, any tragedy that befalls us, we are capable, in God’s power, of overcoming. In all things we can achieve spiritual victory, through Christ. Life is not easy. The fact is we often need a “way of escape.” Life is hard, but we can face it with confidence in God’s gracious promises.

We are “more than conquerors” in Christ (Romans 8:37). “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). To “overcome” the trials and temptations of the world is to prevail over them, just as David, in God’s strength, prevailed over Goliath. Evil schemes and disagreeable circumstances will not win the day. “They have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me” (Psalm 129:2). Our trials are for a purpose, we have the armor of God and the privilege of prayer, and God will see to it that our trials do not overcome our faith. Our position as children of God is secure; we will come through the trials intact. “I am convinced that . . . [nothing] in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).

Prophet Nathan Emol

IN WHAT WAY IS BEING A CHRISTIAN DIFFICULT?

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Anyone who tells you that committing your life to Christ makes your life easier is not telling the truth. Fulfilling, yes. More joyful, absolutely. But easier? No. In some ways, life gets more difficult after we come to Christ. The struggle against sin is more pronounced, for one thing. Laziness, gluttony, swearing, anger, envy, self-centeredness, materialism, covetousness, intimacy issues—the temptations seem never-ending. The world, the flesh, and the devil don’t go away because we have stepped into a relationship with Christ.

The 2,000-year-old list of sins in Galatians 5:19–21 is still familiar ground for those of us living in the 21st century. That list is followed by another list—the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is the change from the works of the flesh to the fruit of the Spirit that can prove difficult.

Accepting Christ as Savior means we receive instant justification before God (Romans 10:10). We are reconciled to Him, and we have all the legal rights and privileges of a son or daughter (John 1:12). We now have a relationship with the Creator of the universe.

What is often overlooked is that we also need to accept Christ as Lord. Being a blood-bought child of God means we give up the right to ourselves (1 Corinthians 6:20). This is the point where sanctification begins, and this moment-by-moment dying to self continues as long as we live in our earthly bodies (Matthew 16:24).

The Spirit’s regeneration sets off an alert system that lets us know things have changed. Sinful behaviors that we once found comfortable no longer are. The old way of life grows rather—old (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Being a Christian is difficult because we must now confront our lives from a different worldview that comes with a new set of values—God’s values. We are immersed in a world system that trumpets its ideals and slanders anyone who demurs. Before we are saved, we accept what the world says without even thinking about it. We don’t know anything else. After we are saved, our eyes are opened to the truth, and we can perceive the lies of the world. Fighting against those lies can be difficult.

Being a Christian is difficult because, once we are saved, we are suddenly swimming upstream, against the current of the world around us. Though our appetites will change, our sanctification can be a difficult process. Friends no longer understand us; our families question our new involvements and associations. Those we love often feel rejected, angry, and defensive. They don’t see why we can no longer continue in our old ways.

Being a Christian is difficult because it requires growth. God loves us too much to let us stay the same. Growth can be painful at times, and we usually don’t like to leave our comfort zone, but positive change is always rewarding. As we grow in Christ, we realize that God isn’t just desirous of our conforming to a set of rules. He wants all of us; He wants a crucified life, given totally to Him. We learn through obedience and trust to find rest in His guidance.

Being a Christian is difficult because we must constantly say “no” to our own fleshly desires and yield to the Spirit. We learn to handle conflict with grace, instead of through retaliation. We learn to forgive, rather than hold grudges. We learn to replace the vacillating emotions we once called love with true, unconditional love. We grow through the opportunity to die to ourselves daily, to become obedient.

Yes, being a Christian is difficult in many ways. But that’s only half the story. The difficulties believers face are not tackled alone. Every challenge is met through the power of Christ who lives within us (Philippians 4:13). The faithful follower of Christ is never completely overwhelmed (2 Corinthians 4:8–9).

There are definite, eternal rewards for following Christ (Luke 18:29–30). We learn by experience that God’s ways are better, safer, and more reliable than the world’s ways. Our trusting obedience to God becomes the pathway to a transformed and abundant life (John 10:10).

Prophet Nathan Emol