By Neil Anderson
1 Timothy 1:5
The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith
Perhaps the greatest service performed by trials and tribulations in our lives is to reveal wrong goals. It’s during these times of pressure that your emotions raise their warning flags signaling blocked goals, uncertain goals, and impossible goals which are based on our desires instead of God’s goal of proven character.
People say, “My marriage is hopeless,” then “solve” the problem by changing partners. But if you think your first marriage is hopeless, be aware that second marriages are failing at a far higher rate. Others feel their jobs are hopeless. So they change jobs, only to discover that the new job is just as hopeless. People tend to look for quick-fix solutions to difficult situations. But God’s plan is for you to hang in there and grow up.
Is there an easier way to being God’s person than through enduring tribulations? Believe me: I’ve been looking for one. But I must honestly say that it has been the dark, difficult times of testing in my life which have brought me to where I am today. I thank God for the occasional mountaintop experiences, but the fertile soil for growth is always down in the valleys of tribulation, not on the mountaintops. Paul says, “The goal of our instruction is love” (1 Timothy 1:5). Notice that if you make that your goal, then the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy (instead of depression), peace (instead of anxiety), and patience (instead of anger)(Galatians 5:22, 23).
How would you give hope to a woman whose husband just left? “Oh, we will win him back,” you say. Great desire; wrong goal. Trying to manipulate that husband or the circumstance is probably why he left in the first place. It is better to say to the woman, “If you haven’t committed yourself to be the wife and mother God has called you to be, would you now?” According to Romans 5:3-5, our hope lies in the proven character that come through perseverance.
Prayer: Father, enable me today to persevere through the trials of life and thereby develop strong character and hope.