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Bible verses about Attitudes toward Trials
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 10:21-22

The question always is: How do we endure to the end no matter what we face now or in the future? Like Christ and Paul, how can we set our minds so that we see our burdens and afflictions as “light” (Matthew 11:30)? This is critical because, if we consider our trials as too much to bear, will we endure? But if we see our trials as light, whatever they may be, enduring to the end almost becomes assured.

So how do we make this mindset a part of our lives? In II Corinthians 4:17, Paul gives us something to consider: “which is but for a moment. . . .”

The simple fact is that, when compared to eternity, our existence in this life—no matter how long—is but for a moment. Several scriptures emphasize this reality:

» For He remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again. (Psalm 78:39)

» Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)

» Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue. (Job 14:1-2)

Our lives are only a moment in time when compared to eternity. After a thousand years under Christ's rule, will today's pains even be a memory? Many readers have had a taste of how this works: Ladies with children have experienced how a short period of intense pain in the now can be overwhelmed by the joy that comes afterward (John 16:21). It must be a light burden in comparison, because many knowing the pain will repeat the experience, and for some, often. In subsequent years, how often does the memory come back? Probably not often, if at all.

A helpful practice, then, is to embed in our thinking this foundational concept of just how short our lives are compared to eternity. This takes prayer and meditation to make this a living reality for each of us, helping to guard against being overwhelmed by the now.

Pat Higgins
Light Affliction?


 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Paul addresses I Thessalonians 5:16-18 directly to us, and its commands can greatly affect our attitudes during trials so that we make the best use of them without getting down on life: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” These are quite challenging! But since God commands them of us, they are things that He will enable us to accomplish. Therefore, they are not impossible tasks.

These are attitudes and actions that we can control. Other scriptures reveal that God permits us to be saddened or disappointed about what is happening. For example, the gospels say that Jesus sorrowed about various things. Here, Paul's concern is that, in our relationship with God—as the mention of prayer establishes—we will not remain depressed for an extended time because of our contact with God. We should be able to come out of our funks. If we do not, it is because we are too focused on ourselves.

These commands guard against allowing ourselves to sink from an upbeat, positive, and hopeful attitude of a child of God to a discouraged and self-centered one. How? By doing spiritual work directly in relation to God, holding onto God in the midst of all circumstances in life. Peter writes that if God is our hope, He will lift us up (I Peter 5:6-7).

I Timothy 6:6-8 reminds us of an important reality: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” This passage's central issue concerns wealth. Great discontentment and discouragement are generated through coveting wealth. However, the attitude of a reasoned, faith-based contentment, regardless of economic circumstances, causes great spiritual gain.

Within a relationship with God, this faith-based attitude greatly assists in enabling a Christian to live an “over the sun” life. In a converted person's mind, because he is living such a life, God is the Central Figure, and he accepts whatever life throws his way. A Christian with that focus works his way through his trials, overcoming the pulls toward self-centeredness because he knows God is with him.

Without God being the beacon that provides guidance and encouragement, a person can much more easily drift into an easily discouraged, discontented, covetous, “life is down on me,” self-centered existence. When that happens, spiritual progress grinds to a halt.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Three): Time


 

 




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