Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Character Counts More Than Comfort

     Not too long ago, I developed a serious cold that eventually went into my chest.  I was wheezing and did not even realize it until my co-workers suggested I better see my doctor.  At lunch that day, I took my temperature and discovered I was running a fever.  Fortunately, my physician was able to see me and provide me with medicine.  I don't think I have felt that bad in a long time.  I know I am not the only one who has suffered like this.  In fact, each of us face some challenges every day whether  it is a physical illness or emotional stress.  Sometimes, it is just a massive "to-do" list that never seems to quit growing.
     When it seems we are down and out, well-meaning people quote us Romans 8:28:  "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."  However, they do not go far enough with Scripture.  Look at the verse that follows it.  Verse 29 reads:  "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren."
     By looking at the verse that follows verse 28,  we will know WHY all things work together for our good.  This is important in order for us to be able to cooperate with God's plan for our lives.  I have often told our Wednesday night small group that God is not so concerned with our comfort as He is with our character.  He desires to conform us to the image of His Son that we might be holy even as He is holy.  This is a life long process which is not always easy or pleasant.
     We all have some things, I am certain, in our closets that perhaps we can no longer wear due to a shift in our weight.  Struggle as we might, we just cannot fit into that piece of clothing like we used to.  Our remedy is to change our eating habits and patterns so our weight will drop allowing us to fit into the clothes again.  This is not a simple task but it is worth the effort health wise.
     In the same manner, God is trying to conform us to His Son.  Our old flesh has been comfortable for a long time but its time to diet spiritually and take the food of heaven.  God wants a holy people with a character like Jesus.  Therefore, He will lead us through whatever circumstances, trials, challenges and testings we need in order to polish off those rough edges and refine us like gold.  It isn't always pleasant but the rewards are eternal!
     Knowing that God is at work to conform us to His Son allows us to gladly quote Romans 8:28 because we know He is using all the things that come our way to make us a righteous people for Himself.  Remember, God is more concerned with our character than our comfort.  Selah!

All pictures are courtesty of Cathy Hardesty from her facebook album entitled "Highlands Hammock"

P.S.  I am glad she can get these pictures!

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