A Theology to Understand

The A.R.T. of Survival, Day 4

By Chip Ingram

I once met with a group of pastors in Hong Kong for dinner. One house church pastor told a story of being away when officials from the communist party raided his home as his church was gathering. His wife directed everyone to slip out back. Then she told the officials that she was the pastor. They took her to the police station and beat her for two days. 

I couldn’t help feeling angry. How would I respond if someone did that to my wife? Then the pastor finished his story by saying, “Can you imagine that God would count us worthy to suffer for Him?”

How we respond to suffering says something about our theology, our framework of thought about God’s nature and what He is doing in our lives. If we’re discouraged, perhaps we have the wrong perspective.

Discouragement is one of the enemy’s greatest tools. It can erode our confidence and causes us to lose heart, like nothing will ever change. What point is there in trying? Such a state of mind makes compromises and quitting seem like our most realistic option.

But God provides us with a different theology—a divine perspective, about how much He loves us and holds our future in His hands. When this perspective really sinks in, discouragement loses its power.

Are you discouraged today? Get God’s perspective, His theology on:

  • Your circumstances:
    Look at your circumstances through the eyes of faith. They are putting you in a position of depending on God, a priceless skill for now and eternity.
  • Your future:
    Look at your future through the eyes of hope. If you are a believer in Jesus, you will never go through painful circumstances that aren’t worth it.
  • Your motivation:
    The crown of life is promised to those who love Him, and that overarching motive anchors our vision in eternity. We can overcome anything when we’re doing it for love.

Today, mediate on the passage in James and boldly ask God for His resources. 

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

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