Devotional–The Struggle of Sanctification—The Perfecting of Our Faith
Health care professionals, military personnel, and successful entrepreneurs have something in common—critical thinking skills. The dictionary definition of critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue to form a judgment. It is a combination of using your knowledge, subjective information, and observational skills [based on facts] to analyze the situation and make a sound [the best] decision.
1. Critical thinking always produces a productive outcome.
2. Critical thinking always requires sound reason and logic.
3. Critical thinking always excludes an emotional response.
An emotional response is normal behavior for most individuals when they experience situations that involve hardships. The truth is that no one likes suffering. Even as believers, we dread trials and tribulations. Our Heavenly Father is aware of our weaknesses, yet, He makes us know His position. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).
God has a definite purpose for perfecting our faith—to live with Him forever. And He uses the toughest trials to accomplish His plan to save our souls. Yes, we will shed tears and experience sadness, but we can be thankful that we serve a God who is steadfast and does not make decisions based on our emotions.
“To be successful in your Christian journey requires having a spiritual backbone.” Patricia Shirer
Recently, an increasing number of people are posting on social media about being separated from family and friends. The separation is not referring to physical relocation. The unanswered question, “Why has God allowed me to be alone?”
Pastor TD Jakes explains, “Your separation is ordained by God. Although Jesus had 12 disciples, only three, Peter, James, and John were allowed to go with him to the Mount of Transfiguration. God has selected certain people for spiritual elevation to complete His purpose. Your elevation is not based on pride. You may feel so lonely that you think that even God has left you alone because He may remain silent. You are not alone. God chooses those who will follow Him no matter the cost.”
Faith requires growth. Our relationship with Christ is based on love, faith, humility, and obedience which are strengthened from the experience of trials. “Only through faith, through knowing for ourselves God’s love, and living by faith in Christ, could we ever possibly rejoice in our trials.” The Perfecting of Our Faith, SS Lesson
Feeling lonely is a valid emotion when we are physically alone. Does God care? Yes! There are two situations when Jesus was alone and was ministered to by angels: In the wilderness, “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him” (Matthew 4:11), and in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:43). We also have angels who strengthen us in our times of despair.
Spiritual critical thinking maintains our faith in Christ when experiencing trials and sorrows. Our diligent prayer life, and study of the Scriptures allow the Holy Spirit to give us the knowledge, discernment, and wisdom needed to understand the big picture—God is preparing us for eternal life. “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven” (Matt. 5:12).
Human effort and Divine Intervention are necessary to build our faith and strength while suffering. We express gratitude for God’s love and mercies during our fiery trials through praise and worship. Sing, pray short prayers throughout your day, and imagine your life in the New Heaven and New Earth. Hallelujah! We are nearing home!
Prayer: God, we pray for strength and stronger faith while going through the hardships of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.