A few Sundays ago, our pastor gave a sermon that has really stuck with me. It dealt with Hebrews 12. As I finished the book of Job yesterday, and have been dealing with uncertainty about the future // nostalgia about the past, I've been able to pull out my notes from that sermon // read Hebrews 12 and really use those things to help me right now. I'm writing this because I have a feeling I'm not the only person in the world going through something similar right now
(that's why I write most of the stuff I do...).
The points I wrote down were:
"I am so focused on Jesus that I cannot see anything else in
This is so hard. When we have problems, they tend to consume our minds and all of our thoughts. I know I overthink and literally, if something is bothering me, it has the potential to become the only thing I can think about. But focusing on Jesus as much as I should would make it so that there wouldn't be much room for focusing on my problems. Literally, there wouldn't be room for thought of my struggles if I focused on Jesus as much as I should. I don't need to think about my problems because God is working them out and working them together for my good. So I focus on Him - the one that will take care of my issues. They're too big for me to take care of, so what good is it to dwell on them??
"Focusing on the problems in your life will cause you to not endure and finish the race."
Focusing on the problems (that I can't fix) will cause me to get sidetracked and take away from thoughts of Jesus - the thoughts that will get me through and help me to finish the race (life). Problems are things put in our way to keep our eyes off of God and on earthly things. But if our minds are focused on holy and heavenly things, we can make it through whatever we need to make it through.
Whatever we think about the most becomes our god......
We have to keep our #eyesabovethewaves
(Yes I just hashtagged in a blog.)
"Sovereignty of God - nothing can ever happen in my life that God does not allow."
It's important to remember that everything that happens to me is allowed by God. And for a reason. So everything that comes my way is God-ordained and part of the plan. Yes I've made mistakes, but God knew before I was born that I would make those mistakes and He allowed me to make them and allowed the consequences. He is in control.
"The Christian life was never meant to be easy."
Being a Christian doesn't mean we won't have problems. In fact, it's the opposite. We will have lots of trials and tribulations. The difference for us is, we see these experiences as tools that make us stronger and better, and we have a Savior to comfort us in these times of trouble.
Even in the worst of times, beauty and purpose can be found.
"Always see God's discipline as an act of love."
Hebrews 12:7-11 (ESV)
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Job, at first, saw his trials as punishment from God, and often we do too. But I saw a quote the other day that I loved:
"God never uses anyone greatly unless He tests them deeply."
We need refining. We need practice in endurance. We need to know how to hang in there. We need to know how to be thankful for our present situation, whether it's our ideal or not.
The people God wants to use for great things must endure a lot to get to that point. To me, that's extremely comforting to know - all of this isn't for nothing! It never is.