Written by Chris McKnight
Welcome to our KBC Monday morning blog, where we reflect on and interact with yesterday’s sermon. I begin where Scott began, the story of amazing endurance. This effort went on for 48 straight hours before hope was lost.
Here’s a picture of the crew trying to cut the ship Endurance free from the ice.
Some months later, Sir Ernest Shackleton, the leader of this expedition, wrote in his diary:
"Thus, after a year's incessant battle with the ice, we had returned... to almost the same latitude we had left with such high hopes and aspirations twelve months previously; but under what different conditions now! Our ship crushed and lost and we ourselves drifting on a piece of ice at the mercy of the winds" New Year's Eve, 1915.
Have you ever felt that way – after a year of effort, to return to where you began? Life can be incredibly hard in this fallen, cursed and fading world. And as we learned yesterday, trials will be even harder if we don’t think correctly about them. As believers, we have the mind of Christ. By regular input of God’s Word, our minds can be renewed, our thinking transformed to see trials and suffering as friends come to do us good.
Trials are the weight-room of the Christian life. Like working out, they come like various exercises from a trainer using differing weights and techniques to stress different areas of your body and cardio fitness. Various trials do the same for our faith. God is the Trainer, dialing up custom work out programs for each of His children. Imagine where you would be physically if you never moved? A blob of Jello, right? Now imagine where you would be as a Christian without trials!
We must mature from living by our feelings to walking by faith, from falling apart to knowing. Knowing this is the only way forward. Knowing this is how Christ-like character is produced. Knowing that Jesus Himself suffered. Knowing, as Scott said, “this is a test.” Knowing they can’t be avoided. It’s not “if” but “when you encounter …”.
I was struck and challenged by Scott’s comments on “consider this trial as “all joy”, pure, undiluted, unmixed joy. Joy from start to finish. Joy not anger, joy not fear, joy not grumbling. Only a Christian empowered by the Holy Spirit could ever come close to such a command.
Dear brother or sister in Christ, this kind of joy is only possible if we value Christ-likeness more than comfort or earthly kingdoms, more than reputation or life goals. Trials expose faulty thinking and worldly values. Oh, how we need them to become like Jesus!
Don’t shortcut the process. Don’t look for fleshly, sinful escape routes. Don’t turn to the world for relaxation. Let the fire do its work until your faith is proven more precious than silver and you yourself come forth as gold, “perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
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