“8 CHOICES” Spring-Summer Study – Chapter 7 “The Misery Trap”

What are You Going to do with What You’ve Been Given?

Fact: Most people on the face of this earth will probably face trials of some kind in their lifetime. Believers are guaranteed it. 

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”   John 16:33

He said, “…you will”, not “you might.” 

For all of the dissing James and his sibs gave their big brother, Jesus, perhaps he paid more attention to Him than he wanted to let on.  He wrote, “Consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds…”

Again, “whenever”, not “if ever.”

Jesus never said, “Come follow me, and I will make you comfortable.”  He said, “…and I will make you fishers of men.”  Fishing is hard work, it’s pretty messy and there is usually the risk of injury or worse.  Fishing will cost you… something

The goal of the Christian life is not comfort, but you’d be hard pressed to see Christianity any other way in the USA.  Oh, we want the salvation that Christ guarantees us, we just don’t want the other part; the painful, difficult, scary or uncomfortable part.  But I am convinced that one cannot be a true follower of Jesus by trying to escape the rough parts, the difficulties, the trials and the sufferings of this life.  Because out of those very things not only is our faith made strong but our ministry is revealed.

Let me say it another way: God made plans for your life; good plans (Jeremiah 29:11-13). He put these plans together for your life before He ever began the first bit of work on this creation we call Earth.  His plans for your precious life have been well thought out and well thought through, down to the last details including blessings and “a future.”

We’ve got to know that.  We’ve got to believe that. 

Therefore, if something has touched your life that was anything less than comfortable, dear one I assure you that it was either part of the outright perfect will of God or the permissive will of God.  Whether you brought the discomfort on yourself or it resulted in some other way, it did not touch you without His divine say so and not without profound purpose coming from it! 

Get this, girls, if He has allowed it, He can use it.  Your place of difficulty is useful!  Try saying that out loud right where you are: “My place of difficulty is useful!  My place of difficulty has purpose!”

He does not allow one single thing to touch your precious life that is of no earthly and eternal purpose.  The greatest fruit of your personal ministry will come from your places of difficulty.  Those things become fruitful and purposeful when we receive them as gifts and opportunities from which we can minister out of; cancer, divorce, financial crisis, addiction, betrayal, death of a loved one, etc.  If you are a survivor of anything, a “more than a conqueror”, if you have had victory in any area of difficulty… sister you turn that around, surrender that to God and start encouraging someone who is going through the same thing. 

The way I see it we have two choices: We can either sit around and feel sorry for ourselves and our “bad luck”, or we can get a spiritual grip on who our God is and how much He loves us and start changing the way we look at and think about our lives!

If you see your life, troubles and all, as “cup half full”, then good for you; if you see your life, troubles and all, as “cup half empty”, then your God is too small. 

But as His follower, the way to see your life, troubles and all, is “my cup runneth over!”  (Psalm 23:5)

Go back through the “big deals” in your life and then fill in the other turning points, etc… Take a look at it all: that’s your place of purpose and your Biblical inheritance… given to you for purpose and for God’s glory!

Now, what are you going to do with what you’ve been given?

  • Read Matthew 25:14-30, The Parable of the Talents.  Most of the time we hear this preached in reference to tithing or monetary giving. As you read it through this time, think about the life experiences you’ve been given.
  • What have you been given that you are using for God’s glory?
  • What have you been given that you are not using for God’s glory?  Why?