Summary: It matters not if you are a Christian or an unsaved person, in life the “BIG ONE” WILL come sooner or later. In God’s plan, because of His grace, He allows us to have the small (variegated) trials, so we won’t be crushed when the “BIG ONE” comes a
assurance and confidence.
We have been looking at the desperate need for Believers to "Earnestly contend for the Faith, once for all delivered to the Saints". The Believer is bombarded from every direction with anything but "the Faith once delivered to the Saints".
Ephesians 4 , as well as many other passages, deal with this age old problem of being bombarded with "every wind of doctrine". The Scriptures do mean "EVERY" wind of doctrine. There are so many "brands" and shades of doctrines today that it would be impossible to even name them all
Please look carefully at Ephesians 4:11-16 . We will refer back to this passage throughout this lesson and the ones to follow. For now, I want you to have this passage in the back of your mind as we proceed.
I have highlighted some very important "little" words. We won’t have the time to explore each of them, this time around. I do trust, however, that you will note them and study their importance, on your own.
Ephesians 4:11 And He (Christ) Himself gave (to the Church) some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ -- 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
This passage goes a long way in answering that real and honest question of "HOW do we obtain that proper perspective?" In the last lesson, we looked at establishing a proper perspective by knowing and understanding that God is in control of the beginning and the end as well as the middle of all time and also our lives.
Paul demonstrated by his life, and gave us the reason for and the instructions to have this proper perspective. A perspective that is needed, if we are to live the real Christian life.
2 Corinthians 12:8 Concerning this thing (his thorn in the flesh) I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
God uses the "thorns" of life to teach us the need of proper perspective. God also uses the "thorns" of life to train and discipline our lives in such a way that we can see the events of life, good or bad, as tools in the hand of God, so that the "power of God will rest on us".
This training starts with the realization that "God’s grace is sufficient" for any thorn of life. Therefore, if our purpose of life is NOT simply for personal gain and comfort, BUT to glorify God.., then we will see the "thorns" of life as something more than simple suffering, but instead as a great opportunity to serve God in the highest manner.
This in NO way means that we should go looking for or try to get these "thorns" of life, so we can live a better Christian life. You won’t have to go looking for "thorns", they will come to you in the natural process of life.
There was nothing wrong with Paul’s desire to rid himself of the "thorn". There would have been a problem, IF after using reasonable means, he could not get rid of the "thorn", he then turned to bitterness instead of acceptance.
When our perspective is simply
human comfort and satisfaction,
our minds are
in the "human mode".
Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, (set their minds on) the things of the Spirit.
Set mind on flesh = (Greek) To exercise or direct the mind. Literally, to have mental disposition in the direction of self-interest. It implies moral interest or reflection, not mere unreasoned opinion.