God's Purpose (continued)
Both goals necessitate our passing through adverse circumstances in this life. Let us see this from the Word of God. "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:6,7). In Hebrews we read: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth" (12:6). Why does He do it? "For our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous [the Lord knows that]: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (vv. 10, 11). We would like to have the "nevertheless afterward" without what goes before, and we cannot get it. The fruit of righteousness follows chastening and only when we are exercised or disciplined through the suffering.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Romans 8:35, 37). It is quite easy to have a real attitude of victory after we are out of some difficult circumstance. We may tell quite an elaborate story about it - afterwards. We may even include a bit of exaggeration in some of those stories. It seems that it is after we are out of the thing that we are "more than conquerors."
But what about while we are in the difficulty? Ask your family or your co-worker whether you were more than a conqueror while passing through the trial. I believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible, and so I believe in the verbal inspiration of that little word translated "in." Some of us are not going to be more than conquerors until we are more than conquerors in that frightfully difficult circumstance or environment.
Paul declared, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (v. 29). Conformity to Christ's image comes as we learn to be victorious in our circumstances.
Our present circumstances will produce future glory. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (vv. 17, 18). In Corinthians 4:17, 18 Paul wrote: "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Do you understand the contrast? God speaks of the "light affliction" now and the "eternal weight of glory" then. He speaks of the light affliction as just for a moment, while the glory is for all eternity. Then He tells us that everything depends on how we look at it. Are we looking only at that which is eternal? Only as we focus our attention on that which is eternal are we going to be able to see the affliction, or the difficult circumstance, as God sees it and have victory.
(continued with # 6 - "Four Attitudes That Cause Defeat")