Yesterday I was awake in the middle of the night listening to a sermon podcast. I love learning and being uplifted by truth and hope. Listening to Bible teaching redirects my mind from the latest news of problems in the world.
Then a thought came to my mind; while the world is becoming worse, Christians can continue to grow and be renewed in their knowledge and faith in the Lord Jesus. The world events present new threats and the culture seems like a tidal wave of sin that sweeps people into its ways of thinking. But even as these things go on around us, we can continue to become stronger spiritually and learn how to persevere in a world that is full of strife, persecutions and dangers.
Is it possible to become “better” in a world that is becoming worse?
This is exactly what Paul talked about in his letter to the Corinthians. He said, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
When we are suffering, it’s hard to understand how our temporary problems are “achieving for us an eternal glory.” But there are powerful spiritual changes going on within us, even as we struggle in pain during persecutions and trials. Not only are we growing in deep intimacy with God through prayer and Bible study, but we are being sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our faith becomes purer and stronger as we learn to trust God while we experience how He works in our lives through our struggles.
Think of how amazing it is that God works through this broken, sinful world to bring about “eternal glory”! Through the trials and pain, God faithfully continues to develop and purify His people. How does God renew us and make us more like Jesus in a world that continuously seems to get worse?
God uses the difficulties and pain to help us develop these things:
Patience – long suffering
Love for others
An understanding of our true purpose
A longing for our eternal home with the Lord
Perseverance through trials
Eyes to see the world as God sees it
Sanctification – becoming more like Jesus
Intimacy with God
Miracles – God brings good out of the suffering
Testimony – we become witnesses who testify to God’s work in our lives
God is continually accomplishing these important things within Believers, regardless of what is happening in the world around us. He helps us to see events, people and circumstances through the lens of Scripture. As we learn what the Bible teaches, God reveals truth to us and strengthens us to be faithful witnesses to a lost and confused world.
I’m going to continue to press forward, study God’s Word, become strengthened and renewed, even as the world seems to be getting worse. How about you? Do you seek to be renewed even in a declining culture and harsh world?