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Church is the Human Outworking of the Person of Jesus Christ. It is not What we do, but Who we are
A Growing Numbers of Christians are Less Interested in Spiritual Principles and more Desirous of Learning Pragmatic "McFaith" (Instant and Quick) Solutions for Life
Faith is significant to them, but it takes a back seat to life accomplishments and is not necessarily perceived to affect their ability to achieve their dreams.
Among adults the areas of growing importance are lifestyle comfort, success, and personal achievements.
Those dimensions have risen at the expense of investment in both faith and family. The turbo-charged pace of society leaves people with little time for reflection.
Spiritual practices like contemplation, solitude, silence, and simplicity are rare. Practical to a fault, Americans consider survival in the present to be much more significant than eternal security and spiritual possibilities.
Because we continue to separate our spirituality from other dimensions of life through compartmentalization, a relatively superficial approach to faith has become a central means of optimizing our life experience.
As if “spiritual principles” are not practically applicable! Please. This attitude shows that too many Christians are not being taught the truth of the Word, which is all about how to live, that is, how to be and what to do in any situation. People cannot be living truth unless they first hear truth.
One of the most difficult parts of the Christian life is the fact that becoming a disciple of Christ does not make us immune to life’s trials and tribulations. Why would a good and loving God allow us to go through such things as the death of a child, disease and injury to ourselves and our loved ones, financial hardships, worry and fear? Surely, if He loved us, He would take all these things away from us. After all, doesn’t loving us mean He wants our lives to be easy and comfortable?
Well, no, it doesn’t. The Bible clearly teaches that God loves those who are His children, and He “works all things together for good” for us (Romans 8:28). So that must mean that the trials and tribulations He allows in our lives are part of the working together of all things for good. Therefore, for the believer, all trials and tribulations must have a divine purpose.
As in all things, God’s ultimate purpose for us is to grow more and more into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). This is the goal of the Christian, and everything in life, including the trials and tribulations, is designed to enable us to reach that goal. It is part of the process of sanctification, being set apart for God’s purposes and fitted to live for His glory. The way trials accomplish this is explained in 1 Peter 1:6-7: “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The true believer’s faith will be made sure by the trials we experience so that we can rest in the knowledge that it is real and will last forever.
Trials develop godly character, and that enables us to “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
However, we must be careful never to make excuses for our “trials and tribulations”
Trials and tribulations come with both a purpose and a reward. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. . . . Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:2-4, 12).
Through all of life’s trials and tribulations, we have the victory. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Although we are in a spiritual battle, Satan has no authority over the believer in Christ. God has given us His Word to guide us, His Holy Spirit to enable us, and the privilege of coming to Him anywhere, at any time, to pray about anything. He has also assured us that no trial will test us beyond our ability to bear it, and “he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Only the Lord Jesus can really touch your heart to the degree that your love for Him makes you a “bond slave” to Him, and anoint you with the power, authority and conviction to tell others this magnanimous truth.
Getting Back to Basics
“The TrueChurch can never fail. For it is based upon a rock” ― T.S. Eliot
“Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon” ― Martin Luther
“Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man” ― Dwight L. Moody
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James Langston is available for interviews, media appearances, book signings, and speaking engagements.
About the Author
James Langston is a retired naval officer, founder and senior pastor of the Pilgrim Outreach Ministries. He oversees day-to-day operations and ministry Internet feeds in the United States, Canada, and a myriad of international countries.
He teaches in ministerial workshops, and gives primary leadership to the evangelism, administration, outreach and audio and visual departments of the ministry.
Langston lives overseas with his wife and son. Langston and his wife are the proud parents of six children and thirteen grandchildren.
James Langston, Senior Pastor,
Pilgrim Outreach Ministries International