“Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” (Philippians 4:1 KJV)
Life is such a roller coaster ride, seemingly without purpose at times, isn’t it? It is going along straight with some small climbs but then a steep climb starts and then at the worst time…relief and woooossh back to the straight and easier line of sight. Up and down, sharp curves, good times and bad times, Peace and war.
What about after you become a Christian? Life is great and everything goes smoothly if you are Christian right? When you become a Christian and start living right nothing bad will come your way right? No hardship shall find you. You shall prosper in money and everything you do and put your mind to will succeed. At least, that is what several “evangelists” say on your TV. But is that true? Is that a Biblical fact?
Not only is that not true, it is also not found in the Scriptures of the bible. If anything, the word of God is very clearly opposed to this view. Those that teach that when a person becomes a Christian “life gets easy” are not only wrong in their ideas, they are going against the purposes of God and causing people to speak badly of the true Christian faith. So many non believers in Christ think that Christians are “goody two shoes“. That Christians think they are better then the rest of the world. This view is further enhanced by the false religions claiming to be “Christian”, but who teach things very clearly against the word of God.
In contrast, Christians are no different then current non believers. We all sin against God. The Christian who says he does not sin is a liar according to the Scriptures.
“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10 KJV)
Christians are only different in that we have been forgiven of our sins and the righteousness of Christ is now upon us. We have been justified and set free from our debt of sin and the eternal punishment of sin against a Holy God. It is not that we make ourselves Holy. It is a gift from God.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 KJV)
In Philippians 4 we can see what we, as those that believe in Christ, should do to help in the renewing of our mind. The Holy Spirit is the one that renews the minds of Christians but we can apparently help by lining ourselves up with what the Holy Spirit is doing; making us more and more like Jesus.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9 KJV)
In Philippians, it also reads,
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:4-5 KJV)
It sounds a bit like Christians have everything easy without hardship right? Well, not really. This passage uses the word “always”. When things are going well it is easy to rejoice. But what about when things go wrong? And not to plan? This is saying no matter if things are going well or bad that we are to “rejoice!”. That is a big difference. Philippians continues and reads,
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:6-9 KJV)
Paul is saying for Christians to not be anxious about anything. He did not say that in our lives there would not be occurrences that we would not be anxious over. He did not say it was easy to not be anxious over such things either. He said to pray to God. Not to beg God but to pray and know and have faith that God listens and that God truly does love you and cares more then we can understand. Having such faith, we should pray with “thanksgiving“, even in the bad times understanding and trusting that God has a purpose for this in your life and in the life of others.
Jesus said many times that the “just” (Christians who have been justified by believing in the completed atonement Christ provided on the cross) shall live by “faith”. (Romans 1:1, Galatians 3:11) Faith in what you ask? Faith in Jesus Christ. Faith that there is a God and that God is right there with you in your circumstances and that
“… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV).
Not just the good times in life, it says in “all things”; the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
We are to have faith in the fact that God is in full charge. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, God has a plan. God is NOT surprised by ANYTHING!
He goes before you and knows the entirety of your life. His ways are far above our understanding but through your life as a believer you can see the answer of “why” from looking back after having gone through a situation.
And in some cases we may not understand the answer to “Why has this happened to me?” until after the resurrection. But you can be assured that God is in full control and we can trust Him. And in every battle we face in life God equips us to accomplish the task. Paul explains it this way in Philippians 4,
“ Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:11-13 KJV)
The Apostle Paul. You know the story, Saul who met Jesus risen on the road to Damascus? Saul who was blinded by Jesus and asked why he was persecuting Christians? After his conversion from a killer of Christians and given the new name “Paul”, to becoming maybe one of the most influential teaching Apostles in all of history; he certainly did not have the “easy” life. Instead he was imprisoned, beaten many many times. So much of what we would call “bad” happened to him in his Christian walk. But God had a plan for his life and he would not have had the impact on the world (even to this day!) had he received the “easy life” after conversion. I end this topic the way I started it:
“Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” (Philippians 4:1 KJV)