Its Losses and Gains
I try to live my life for God and make a conscious effort to walk in faith. But time and time again I mess it up. Again and again, I do things for myself, and I fail and have to go running back to what I know is right like a little child. I’ve had situations like this several times over the last few years, but especially during quarantine. Being stuck at home meant that the main person I could spend time with was myself. It wasn’t fun. I made some poor choices….but I’m thankful for those choices, because from them, I’ve been able to grow my faith and trust more in God.
A Personal Testimony
One choice, in particular, helped me get my priorities in check and truly get to where I needed to be. At first I allowed my selfish desires to pull me away from God and into a relationship that wasn’t healthy, and my stubbornness told me that I could make it work. I tried to convince myself that I knew what I was doing, that I could handle this on my own and everything would be fine.
It wasn’t my fault that the doubters felt that way. But in the end, many of the things that happened with that person were my fault because I wasn’t following God and doing what I knew was right. It took a heart-to-heart with my parents for me to realize that as much as I hated to admit it, I was not in control, and I didn’t need to be. God was (and is) in control. God knew what was happening and he had a plan.
God ALWAYS Has a Plan
And if you find yourself in a bit of trouble like I did, you can hold to this promise. “For God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” Romans 8:28
God has a plan for me and for you that’s better than anything we could hope for.
What I learned is that when we try to do things ourselves they tend to get a little messy and disastrous. This is why it’s important that we have a firm faith in God now and not wait until we’re in the midst of a “storm” to begin to be sure of what we believe as Jesus says here in Matthew 7:24-27.
If I hadn’t chosen to follow my parents and trust that God would brings things through, I’d still be in that relationship and who knows what other bad things would be happening. Seemingly small choices can lead to big consequences, and sometimes all it takes is a small choice in the right or wrong direction to dramatically affect our trajectory in life.
Likewise, seemingly small or routine, habitual choices can sharpen your faith, and surrounding yourself with Godly influences can set you up for long-term success that you can’t even imagine right now. God created the universe, and if he can do that, then surely he can help you with your struggles and help you find purpose. He did for me.
When we take hold of our faith and begin to make it a core aspect of our person, beautiful things start happening in life! God starts surrounding you in this magnificent, awe-inspiring “peace that surpasses all understanding” that gives you the hope you need to make it through the day.
The Choice Is Yours
Quarantine, and life in general, is what you and God make of it together. This part is especially for my fellow students: Isn’t it interesting how, even though we may wholeheartedly believe and truly think we are 100% devoted to God, sometimes our faith can almost seem like it still belongs to our parents?
I can understand why. They put so much time and energy into growing us into amazing disciples of God, but we won’t be in their house forever. Eventually we will be standing on our own and need to make sure we understand what we believe. When the trials of life attack us without them, how can we defend something we haven’t taken responsibility for? I’m not saying it’s bad that they are involved in our development – that’s their job – but maybe it’s time we took full responsibility for our own faith. That is if you haven’t already, of course.
Moving Forward in Faith
To start owning your faith, really look at what you believe. Is it confirmed in the Bible? The Bible is where we go to confirm truth. Make sure you understand everything you’ve been taught. If you don’t – ask questions of your Godly mentors! Read your Bible more.
This is the time to make sure our faith is built on a foundation of rock, just like it says in the Matthew passage above. Every day is a new chance to grow our faith and expand our horizons, and this process starts with the choices we may see as small or insignificant. Still, they can turn out to be exactly what God needs to do something spectacular with your life.
Choosing Means Being Intentional
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “Yeah ok, I’ve already done this,” but have your friends? Talk to them about it, because while yes, this is a time when we can grow TOWARDS Christ, this is also the time when we are in danger of moving AWAY from Christ. We can’t always know the battles someone else is facing, and sometimes the best way to be a vessel for God is to just start a conversation and let Him lead it. There is a pearl of wisdom that my pastor often uses that says “If you aren’t growing, you’re dying.”
While this is a little unsettling, it’s so true. I’ve heard so many testimonies and stories where individuals started to fall away from Christ in their high school years, but they didn’t know how to ask for help. Without someone speaking God’s truth into their life, their faith slowly faded away.
Purpose Equals Possibilities
That’s where we can come in and be instruments for God. Imagine how strong we could all be if we took this time to strengthen each other and really help one another grow. We are living our story right now. While it’s not our whole story, it could be a very important part. What you experience now is going to be what God can use in the future to encourage others. Whether that’s through group devotions or just in a simple, everyday conversation, God could be stirring something in someone’s heart through you. Hearing what you have to say about His influence on your life could tip the scale and set off a chain reaction of incredible events no one saw coming.
Become an Encourager
So you have a choice: what is your story going to be? One where you fell away and had to get back on track? Or will it be one where you followed God everyday and helped encourage your friends to do the same? If your parents are anything like mine, they talk all the time about “Finding friends who encourage you in the Word.” While we do need to find those people, we also need to BECOME those people. So I urge you to take action and become the encourager you wish you had during your own trials! The choice is yours!
For more inspiration on being positive through the trials of life, read Eric Liddell’s biography, Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold, by Janet and Geoff Benge. I highly recommend it!