(continued from 45)
t must, be said before closing this section that a number of troubles, which we get into, are due to our own making - due to some sins or what James described as "drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:14-15).
Peter said it in a similar fashion: " But let none of you suffer as a murderer or as thief or as an evildoer or as a busybody in other men's matters (prying into other peoples affairs)'
Let not the consequences of these be associated with the Christian trial.
A person who embezzles and is caught and sent to prison; a person who receives or gives bribe, a murderer, fornicator or adulterer has only one thing to do and that is repentance and renewal of mind. God will forgive (James 1:14-15; 1 Peter 4:15).
It is needful to write on one more point. And these are the bad habits which we still retain after we have become Christians, which when we refuse or are unwilling to let go, God Himself has to deal with out of love for us.
I know a very pleasant Christian sister who indulged in the habit of placing her business interest over her family commitment. God had, had to deal with her by allowing her business to fall almost to a point of total collapse a number of times. During these times, she retraced her steps and became a good housewife. She learnt her lessons on each occasion in a hard way.
Some Christians are not allowed to reach the peak of their career because God foresees that they will mess it up and thereby destroy all their Christian testimonies, which they have built over the years.
Other Christians have held night vigils upon night vigils, pleading for a certain job but God says 'No', for the same reason that is adduced above.
Because of our shortsightedness, many times, we become sad and weep when God withdraws home some of His children who we cherish so much especially when they are still very much active for the Lord.
The Prophet, Isaiah wrote "The good men perish; the godly die before their time and no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to realize that God is taking them away from evil days ahead. For the godly who die shall rest in peace" (Isaiah 57:1-2).
Some Christians refused to let go the 'arrogance', which they have cultivated before they knew the Lord until God Himself had to deal with it in a hard way.
Some just remain intolerant. They cannot just tolerate others, once these others, appear to exhibit higher Spiritual gifts and excel over them.
Some fine Christian women have lost their homes due to insubordination and in-submission to their Christian husbands. They just couldn't overcome such weaknesses. Such women, who lose their homes, and all others with certain besetting sins, have their bodies punished here in order to have their spirit saved in the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5).
To these kinds of people, who God has to breakdown Himself, the writer of Hebrews wrote:
"And have you quite forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, His child? He said, "My son, don't be angry when the Lord punishes you. Don't be discouraged when He has to show you where you are wrong. For when He punishes you, it proves that He loves you. When He whips you, it proves you are really His child". Let God train you, for He is doing what any loving father does for his children. Whoever heard of a son who was never corrected? If God doesn't punish you when you need it, as other fathers punish their sons, then it means that you aren't really God's son at all - that you don't really belong in His family.
Since we respect our fathers here on earth, though they punish us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to God's training so that we can begin really to live? Our earthly fathers trained us for a few brief years, doing the best for us that they knew how, but God's correction is always right and for our best good, that we may share His holiness.
Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them, which are exercised thereby. (But afterwards we can see the result, a quiet growth in grace and character)" (Heb 12:5-11).
It is however much better that we pray to God to deliver us from the temptation of those sins that easily beset us (Heb 12:1) so that God doesn't have to allow us to go through difficulties and afflictions before we yield to the appropriate correction.
The Living Bible has Heb 12:1 written thus, "since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith (So great a cloud of witnesses) watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us".