Blessings or curses?
2 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. (NIV)
Sometimes our idea of a blessing is quite skewed. The human mind associates a blessing a something that seems good, feels good, produces pleasantness, but there are many things that seem good that are quite harmful. Most of the time, those things that seem very good to us that would be a blessing can also be a curse. Whether it becomes a blessing or a curse depends upon the condition of our heart.
Let me give you an example. The Bible says that money is the answer for everything. It’s found in Ecclesiastes. The context is that almost whatever you want to do in life is going to require a cost. Building a family, building a church, sending Bibles to Africa, eating.
Yet, if we fall in love with money, it becomes a curse. If we learn to depend on our own ability to care for ourselves instead of relying on the Lord, money stifles our faith and spiritual growth, limiting what God can do in our life.
Almost anything in this life could be either a blessing or a curse. The key to receiving more blessings is a heart that has been purified in motive. Will these things move us away from God or will He remain our first love, the one we honor above everything else.
The answer is trials of many kinds. Difficult times never visit alone. They bring temptations to address the trial in a way that does not honor God. This is important because a surplus of resources brings more and greater temptations. Jesus said it was hard for a rich man to enter Heaven.
To prepare us for greater surplus, God allows trials to give us opportunities to put Him first even when it means prolonging our suffering. But when we are able to keep Him first in pain, we are equipped to keep Him first in surplus. When you are going through Hell, God is preparing your heart to receive greater things without being so vulnerable to the temptations that come with it. So consider the hard times as good and approach them with joy for what they will accomplish in you and for your future.
Prayer: In my suffering, help me keep You first. In this, purify my heart to prepare me for greater things. Amen.