Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved
these things or that I have already reached
perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection
for which Christ Jesus first possessed me (v.12).
In 1998, Dr. Larry Crabb wrote the book Inside Out. The book encourages Christians to stop pretending
they have it all together and to be honest about what’s going on in their hearts. As they do so, Crabb
reveals, God can free them up to become more of who they were meant to be.
After the book was published, Larry half-jokingly said that he wished it had been titled I’m a Mess, You’re a
Mess. He knew it wasn’t the most attractive title, yet it reflected something that is true of every one of us.
Take, for example, King David. Even though God considered him a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22),
he was not without his struggles and faults. Second Samuel 11 records a time in David’s life when he was
troubled by a lack of direction and purpose. Floundering in his kingly calling, David abused his power by
summoning a married woman to his bedroom, and then arranged for her husband’s death to cover up what he
Perhaps one of the reasons the Bible includes this sordid part of David’s life is to remind us that none of
us has arrived. It’s not an excuse to be a mess, but it’s a reminder that we’re a “glorious” mess in process. In other words, we all have room to grow.
It’s important to envision who we can be, but let’s not deny where we are today. Referring to the life that is
ours in Christ, even the apostle Paul acknowledged, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection” (Philippians 3:12).
Don’t pretend that you’re farther along in the Christian life than you are. God works in our lives where we are, not where we think we should be. —Jeff Olson
Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the
decrees of his father, David, except that
Solomon, too, offered sacrifices and burned
incense at the local places of worship
(1 Kings 3:3).
How have you pretended to be farther along in
your maturity in Jesus than you actually are?
What will you do to stop pretending?
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