“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.” – Proverbs 24:16 NLT
Living a godly life is not easy. Nowhere in the Bible are we promised a life of ease and comfort when we follow Christ. Yes, He offers us rest, but He does not promise us a trouble-free life. Instead, He assures us that our life will be marked by troubles and trials. He tells us that the world will hate us and that Satan is determined to destroy us. Yet, most of us seem to have an expectation that the Christian life is the good life. There are even those who preach and teach that following Christ is your ticket to health, wealth and prosperity. But history tells us otherwise. Over the centuries since Christ ascended into heaven, there have been countless numbers of His followers martyred for their faith. Others have been persecuted and forced to live out their faith in the face of threats and extreme deprivation. The life of godliness is not a bed of roses. It is the life of an alien living in a strange land. We are outsiders here. This world is no longer our home. We are on enemy soil and we are engaged in an epic battle between two forces at complete odds with one another.
As a result, there will be days when we fail and possibly fall. We will experience ups and downs in this life. But as Christians, we enjoy a certain sticktoitiveness that allows us to respond to setbacks and disappointments with amazing elasticity. We bounce back. We get back up. We keep on keeping on. As Christians we have a future hope that we can rest in and look towards. Paul put it this way: "That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits arebeing renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever" – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT). When you have an eternal perspective, the setbacks of this life take on a different perspective. As Paul says, they begin to appear as small and short-lived. So rather than let them get us down and keep us there, we respond to them with hope and endurance. Paul knew this from experience. He was a man who had gone through all manner of trials and difficulties in his life as a follower of Christ, yet he was able to say, "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love" (Romans 5:3-5 NLT).
We can and will fall down. But we can and should get back up. "The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again" (Proverbs 24:16 NLT). The wisdom of God lets us know that the trials of this life are temporal and limited in their impact. They cannot take away our salvation. They cannot change our eternal status. And while uncomfortable and unenjoyable, as Christians we can embrace them because we know they produce endurance in us and are part of the loving plan of God for our lives. He uses them to perfect us and correct us. He uses them to reveal our own weaknesses and His power. For God, they are simply opportunities to use His strength to provide for His children. The truly wise see life through God's eyes. We learn to view the circumstances of life from His perspective.
Father, sometimes this life can be hard. But I know You are here with me every step of the way. And I also know that Your love for me does not waver or change. My circumstances are not an indicator of Your love and faithfulness. Help me to view my circumstances through the lens of Your love. You never leave me or forsake me. You never let me down. You are able to use any and every circumstance in my life to make me more like Your Son. Thank You. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men firstname.lastname@example.org