Some things are so hidden that you only find out about them when you are looking at something else. Like eating a cheeseburger to find out that you don’t like pickles, or watching American Idol and finding out you no longer want to live.
It can happen with idols as well. Here’s an example. I’m not happy my car needs this expensive repair. Now, it’s a little less obvious what the underlying issue is.
We can ask ourselves, “Why are we not happy?” Is it because we didn’t want to spend money? Then it really means that money is our idol. If we’re upset that we’re lonely, is it because we’re trying to find our happiness through others, not God?
Human relationships are the idol in this case. If our primary goal is God’s will, then we should know that God’s will is to make us more Christ-like (1 Thess 4:3, Rom 8:29), and He does that through trials (James 1:2-4). His will is to make us more Christ-like… this is called “sanctification”. If sanctification also becomes our goal, then we can be thankful that in the long run the trial works for our eternal good.
So let’s put it this way… Do you want to be more Christ-like or have more money? Do you want to be more Christ-like or be respected at work? Do you want to be more Christ-like or never deal with sickness? Do you want to be more Christ-like or have politics go your way? Do you want to be more Christ-like or have an easy life?
Many times the very method God is using to make us more Christ-like exposes our idols. But instead of becoming more Christ-like, we get upset that we’re losing our idols.
So what do we do now?
When you are going through a trial…
1. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be more Christ-like or not have to go through this trial?”
2. Answer that with, “God I want to be more Christ-like at any cost that your wisdom and love sees fit.”
3. Face and defeat each challenge by:
1. Thank God for making you Christ-like through the present situation.
2. Learn which traits of Christ He’s trying to grow in you (choose at least one of the fruit of the spirit, Gal 5:22-23).
3. Praise Him for an associated attribute (such as sovereignty, love, wisdom)
Hopefully through this daily process, we will be able to adopt His goal of sanctification more as our own.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification. 1 Thess 4:3 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Romans 8:28-29 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess 5:18 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Rom 5:3-5.
Take Time To Pray: Ask for wisdom to learn how God is sanctifying you. Today’s Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness.