< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Getting Through Trials

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Getting Through Trials

2 Corinthians 4: 7-18 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”] Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

This passage is about trials. And it tells us that we get through them with God’s power. We are just jars of clay. Ordinary everyday pots! But we have a treasure in us! And that’s Jesus.

Paul had been through more trials and hardships in his life then any six people put together. Yet he can say that he’d been hard pressed, but not crushed. He had been perplexed (why is this happening kind of thing), but not in despair. Persecuted (he’d been flogged and stoned!) But he says he was not abandoned. Struck drown, but not destroyed.

Paul says one of the reasons for our trials is because if we get through them showing Christ’s patience, His faith, His calmness, it draws people who see us closer to God. It spreads the Gospel. If we get through a trial right we glorify God!

So he’s saying there are reasons for our suffering and therefore we do not lose heart. Our light and momentary troubles will be forgotten in Heaven. And Heaven is what our eyes should be fixed on. Not the trials of this life.

Sometimes our trials are caused by our own actions. But sometimes God is acting. And when He does it’s always for our good:

Seven Purposes of Our Trials

  1. To inspect us. James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
  2. To direct us. Proverbs 20:30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.
  3. To correct us. Psalms 119:71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
  4. To connect us. Psalms 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.
  5. To protect us. Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
  6. To perfect us. Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
  7. To project us. Philippians 1:12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

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