Trusting God’s Faithfulness
Being equipped for faith does not always mean that we will appropriate that grace given to us. In fact, almost on a daily basis, we thwart the very purpose of our faith. We do this because we desire our own will, even to our detriment. There is a reason that God equips us with our own ability to trust Him and there is a reason that God calls us to use that trust–or faith–during trials that we all know will come.
If we persevere, and it is our choice, God will give us the Crown of Life.
Christ told us that we would be persecuted; that we would be hated, and that if we stuck it out, there would be a reward. St. Peter told us that when we do suffer, even for righteousness sake, we should not fear or be troubled. His advice was just to respond in holiness–set apart for God’s use. He told us to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have in Christ. St Paul told us to act like an athlete in a race, keeping your eye on the prize. In the end, your Savior will reward you for your loyalty to Him. If we remain loyal, we will certainly remain blessed.
But look what we do. We desire things that are unholy. We desire things that do not honor God. Those things constantly war inside us for control. When we want something, we sometimes even blame God for the temptation. However, we cannot do that; God is not a tempter, nor can He be tempted. Our sin comes from our desires, and if we do not get them under control, they will eventually kill us. Our desires bring us to the temptation. Giving in to those temptations leads us on the deadly sin trail.
What do we need to do? We need to remember who God is and whose we are. God only brings good things. We do not have to fear that if we are obedient to God that we will not have good things. We know that God never changes…He is always faithful. It is we who are not. The good news is that on His own He brought us forth; and it is He who will be faithful, even when we are not. We can trust Him even when we can’t trust ourselves and He will bring us forth as Gold.
Read: James 1:1-4; 1Peter 1:6-7; Romans 5:3; Hebrews 10:36; and 2Peter 1:6)
1. In your life, what are some trials that you and your church are experiencing?
2. What lessons have you learned in that suffering?
3. In what ways can you now identify more with Jesus?
4. In what ways is a tested faith less perishable than gold in a crucible?
5. In what ways can a faith become stronger?
6. In what ways can you rejoice in suffering?
7. In what ways to you find it hard to rejoice in suffering?
8. What do these things say about your faith?
9. Read 2Peter 1:6
10. Trace your “trial history.” Discuss how these virtues in the passage can be learned from suffering…
11. Pray, ask God for the wisdom to see that which you cannot see.
12. Thank Him for the experiences He will give you to learn.
You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:
Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, a Living Truth Ministry, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com
Bible Study Colossians 3
Sometimes we humans do pretty silly tricks in an attempt to earn God’s favor. We think if we are “holy” (meaning sinless or trying to be) we are mature Christians. That is not the case according to this passage. This letter, written to the Colossians, indicated their wrong idea of how to live the Christian life. They were worshipping angels and practicing asceticism or harming their bodies. Paul corrected them by saying that the true Christian life is living out the reality of the understanding of one’s death and resurrection with Christ. It is not about getting God’s attention; we have that. It is about being the ambassador of the message, method and character of the King. We are to do what He would do in order to win others to Him. The Colossians practice did the opposite. Their life looked weird, not wonderful. Christian maturity is not magic, and it takes a lifetime for God to perfect us. The Christian life is walking day to day, putting off what is idolatrous and putting on Christ.
Read Colossians 3
- In verse 2, what are the “things above” that Paul is talking about? How do they relate to verses 12-17?
- List the items given in verses 12-17 on the left side of a piece of paper.
- What are the “things below” that Paul says to put to death in verses 5-10?
- List them on the right side of the same paper.
- Match the words on the left (things above) with their opposites on the right (things below).
- How did the Colossians miss the point of Paul’s message?
- Are you missing the point? How?
- What can you do differently?
- Ask God to show you those things in your daily life this week.
- Ask Him to help you change.
Psalms 36: The Shrinking Power of Sin
Have you ever met a person, who was drunk with his/her own delusions? No one else appears to see their situation the way they see it. Puffed up with their pride, they feel as if they are invincible. They believe they are untouchable, even by God. In order to believe their own lie, they must convince themselves that they are superior. Their self-flattery and manipulations are sickening. They are the type of people David refers to in verses 1-4 of Psalms 36. The person David describes is the epitome of evil. His sin of pride is the core of all sin. However, look what it does for him.
He must convince himself. He must hide what he knows from others. He must manipulate other people to go along with his schemes. His world narrows to a small circle of friends. His blatant pride pushes people away! He is caught in his own trap. In verses 5-8, David contrasts the small and shrinking power of sin, with the ever-expanding love of God.
In verse 5, David talks about God’s “steadfast love extending to the heavens.” In verse 6, God’s righteousness is compared to mountains, and His judgments to the depths of the oceans. In verses 7-8, we all see that God’s love is so big that the people of the Earth find refuge in it, and feast upon His abundant resources.
Verse 9-10 David extols God’s character and exclaims that everyone needs God to live, but God is generous to those who respect Him. In verses 11-12, David throws himself on the mercy of the Lord and asks God to protect him from the oppression of the arrogant, the hand of the wicked, and the fate of all those who do evil. The shrinking power of evil in the hand of a mighty all-loving God doesn’t stand a chance.