Last Sunday, one of our fine Sunday School teachers Jim Bosak was teaching on Genesis 27, and while commenting on the tragic ending of Isaac’s life and the dysfunctionality of his family, Brother Jim challenged us to “end well.” That struck such a strong chord in my soul because my family did not start out well. However, by the grace of God and His never-ending mercies we will finish strong. Growing up in a dysfunctional family has left its mark on us, but it does not have to end that way.
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
It is important to remember the temptation James writes of is the testing of our faith. As he continues to write, James reminds us that God never tempts us to do evil and He doesn’t even Himself tempt us. However, He does allow for our faith to be tested. When our faith is tested we show if it is real and if we are living for God. The only thing of value we leave behind when we leave earth is our legacy. All we do of value that warrants reward awaits us in heaven. Anything else is just a roll of the dice:
“For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 6:12)
If you are not being tested, then one of two things are the reason. First, you are not saved and are not a child of God. If that is the case, then you need to stop right now and give your life to Jesus Christ. You need to acknowledge your sins, repent of them, ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life, and then thank Him for saving your from eternal death.
If you are saved and not being tested, then you’re hiding out in your Christian ghetto avoiding all contact with the enemy and with God for that matter. Oh but Brother Dave, you just don’t understand; I’m not cut out for the spiritual battle stuff. I’m glad you realize that; none of us are. Go back and read Ephesians 6:10-20 for that reminder.
You need to change your perspective on what it means to have your faith tested. The Prophet Zechariah helps us understand:
“I will bring the one–third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:9)
Beloved, if we want to be purified and made holy, then you and I will have to go through the refiner’s fire. In order to have the impurities removed from our lives, intense heat must first be applied to our lives, the impurities will rise to the top, and then they have to be scraped off the top. In other words, when the Holy Spirit brings our sins before us, we must have them removed. Many times that is a painful process, but it is also very purifying.
The older I get the more I dislike the thought that my best years are behind me. In fact, I reject that notion. I believe my best years on earth are clearly ahead of me. How can I say that in light of the state of our society? I do so because I see with eternal eyes, knowing even though the times are uncertain, I have a certain God. I want to be able to sing this old Sabbath song all the way to my grave:
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Psalm 92:12-15)
What about you? What is your legacy going to be? If you look at your life, does it look like Isaac in his old age being deceived by his wife and son, choking on the bitterness that had to be sickening to him?
It doesn’t matter where you are right now, or where you’ve been. Those can be memory stones of how God’s Word proved to be true, no matter how things turned out. What matters is what you’re going to do today and tomorrow. You can sit and whine about how unfair life has been to you, or you can surrender your life to Christ and let Him fashion you into someone who ends well.
The choice is yours…
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers