A Comfortable Scandal – Trials

Photo credit: Dave Saffran/MSG Photos

The world loves a good scandal. Facebook’s buzzing with the latest pic of someone doing something insane. Twitter’s tweets are tuned to the news of the NBA – Chauncey Billup is headed to the Clippers for a paltry $2 million. It’s Christmas – businesses once again debate over whether or not they should wish people ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’ – either choice, someone’s gonna lose their mind!

Scandalous new travels fast!

There’s a comfortable scandal that takes place everyday in the hearts of Believers. There’s a subtle line of obedience we simply aren’t willing to cross. We hear what Jesus has to say. We agree in spirit and nod our heads in affirmation until we realize He’s talking about us. That’s where the scandal lies. We follow Jesus until He asks us to do something seemingly difficult, counter-cultural, or just plain inconvenient. This isn’t new. John 6:66 tells us it happened during Jesus time as well. “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with him no more.” They came to the line they simply weren’t willing to cross. Scandalous…

There are 4 reasons why we walk away. And 4 ways to take the leap of faith Jesus asks us to make when He challenges us to do the difficult, impractical or inconvenient. Most everyone has drawn a line that says, “Jesus, I’m willing to follow you this far, but no farther.” I wonder, as you consider these 4 things how you might redraw your line.

4 Scandalous Distractions that Set the Limits of Our Faith

  1. Temptation – read more…
  2. Trials
  3. Teaching
  4. Transitions

Today – let’s focus on Trials.

TRIALS – I have a friend. He spends a lot of time away from his home and family. He believes God has called him to raise the next generation of missionaries so he spends a lot of time taking teenagers to some of the most dangerous parts of our world to share the gospel. He’s been imprisoned, beaten and held at gun point. At least one of his students has given their life on the mission field, taken by a disease caught while sharing the gospel overseas. I’m guessing the trials we face don’t rise to this level, but it seems they are trials enough. They are enough to cause some to question their faith. They are enough to distract us from fulfilling our mission or following God. Our trials often become the place where we draw the line. My friend says that without a TEST their can be no TESTIMONY. I’ve heard it said that a faith that can’t be TESTED is a faith that can’t be TRUSTED. James 1:2-3 says, “…count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience…” God doesn’t put you through trials so you can prove your faith to Him. He puts you through trials so He can prove your faith to YOU. He wants you to know the depths of your faith. He wants to put you through the test for the sake of the testimony He’s building in you. When trials tempt you to draw the line be PATIENT. God is working out His divine story in you. It’s a story that will strengthen your faith and bless someone else. The trials we face today become the epic stories of tomorrow that encourage, inspire and challenge others to grow deeper in their faith. Are you in the middle of a trial? Be patient. God is not finished with you yet.

What trial do you face today that causes you to draw the line? How far are you willing to go for your faith? Today, pray that God would give you the PATIENCE you need so He can finish the divine story He is writing in you.

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