Transformed by Our Troubles
God’s number one purpose for your life is that you become like Jesus Christ. But, what tools does God use to make us more like his son? How can we take an active role in our process of transformation?
Here are four things God uses to make us more like Jesus:
God uses his HOLY SPIRIT.
It is the Spirit of God inside you who produces the love and joy and peace. The Bible says the more we allow God’s Spirit through our lives, the more we become like Jesus. So that’s the first way we become like Jesus. We must take an active role in allowing God’s Spirit live through us and transform us from the inside.
God use His WORD.
When we let his truth into our minds. It is the truth that transforms us. The more we know God’s Word the more we become like Jesus.
John 17:17 “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.”
God uses OTHER PEOPLE.
People give us support. People challenge us. People teach us. People encourage us. So God uses people to make you like Jesus.
But there’s another way that God uses that I want to focus on and talk to you about today.
God uses PROBLEMS.
The fourth way God makes you like Jesus is through problems, through pressure, through pain and even through suffering.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
Then Paul summarizes this great passage on problems by saying this:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
What is this passage of the Bible saying to us? Every problem has a purpose. We are transformed by our troubles. There is a reason for the problems in your life. Other people may mean it for bad. But God wants to use it for good in my life. Some people think when you become a Christian you should have no problems. But that’s NOT what Jesus said. Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble.” And Peter tells us in the book of
1 Peter 4:12 “Don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.”
You should expect problems on this planet. Why? Because this is not heaven this is earth. Lots of people expect heaven on earth. But this is earth, and everything on earth is broken. The Bible tells us that sin has broken everything. Nothing works perfectly on this planet. The weather does not work perfectly. The economy does not work perfectly. No relationship works perfectly. No marriage works perfectly. Your body does not work perfectly. Everything on earth is broken.
This is why we have problems. And this is why God told us in the Lord’s Prayer we are to pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Why are we to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?” Because in heaven God’s will is done perfectly and instantly, but on earth God’s will is done rarely. There are a lot of things that happen on this planet that are not God’s will. The Bible says that God hates evil. God hates suffering. The Bible says that God weeps when we suffer.
I had a woman ask me one time, where was God when my son died? Here was my answer: God was there, the same place he was when his Son died. So not everything that happens on earth is God’s will. Cancer is not God’s will. War is not God’s will. Abuse is not God’s will. But even out of brokenness God can bring good. Anybody can bring good out of good. But God specializes in bringing good out of bad. God loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections. God can bring good even out of bad. Where is God when I’m hurting? The Bible says:
Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
So when God sees me going through difficult times he is grieving, he is weeping, but he wants to use it in my life. God could have kept Joseph in the Bible out of jail. But he didn’t. God could have kept Daniel out of the lion’s den. But he didn’t. God could have kept Paul from being shipwrecked. But he didn’t. God could have kept the three Hebrew children from going through the fiery furnace. But he didn’t. And God have kept his Son off the cross. But he didn’t. Why? Because God had a greater plan.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Everything that has happened in your life, if you will give it to God, he will bring good out of it. But you’ve got to let it work together. Individually, by themselves, things that happen in your life, can be very bad. But when you let God work them together then God brings good out of it.