What's at Stake

  • Nov. 20, 2017
  • #9276

A Godly response to trials influences others to respond to the gospel.

whats at stake

You can have a thankful heart in a world of hurt.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and yes, ours is a world full of hurt, wouldn’t you agree? And I'm not even talking about the world at large; I'm talking about your world. Tires blow out and computers crash; teeth decay and inflation skyrockets; ants invade picnics and people get promoted ahead of us. Some things can't be avoided because some things are just facts of life. Few of us have actual control over these problems. But before you totally absolve yourself from any responsibility, there's one more fact to consider: You are responsible for the way you respond to these every day, unavoidable inconveniences. You can either fume or fret, give up in dismay, huff and puff, or you can look to your sovereign Lord, who has everything under control.

The apostle Paul assumed responsibility for his attitude toward trials. And oh, what a great attitude he had, all because this man understood the big picture. He explains the big picture in Philippians, Chapter 1 where he tells his friends: “Now I want you to know brothers that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel." Friend, right there is the big picture. Paul knew that his response to everyday trials played a part in advancing the Gospel. He knew that others were watching him, observing him, and learning from the way he responded to his hardships—and that is why he took seriously his attitude when he stumbled over unavoidable problems—because he knew much more was at stake. Other lives could be influenced. God was taking notice.

You know, when we experience deep disappointments or unexpected trials, our tendency is to look inward: to fume, to fret, and to worry how the problem affects us. It’s all about us and how inconvenienced we are. But Philippians Chapter 1, verse 12 reminds us that more, much more, is at stake. Because our response can directly influence the way people around us respond to the Gospel. And friend, those stakes are as high as you can get. No wonder God wants us to have a good attitude when things go wrong. Now, you may not be in prison as was Paul, but for sure, today you will find yourself in sets of circumstances over which you have no control. The weather is going to ruin your outdoor plans. The traffic will force you to be late for an appointment. The electricity will go out this afternoon in your home. Your Visa account will reveal that someone has stolen your card number. Of course, you won’t be held responsible for any of these mishaps, but you will be accountable for a godly response.

And if you need help with that, please, let me send you a gift. It’s my booklet “A Thankful Heart in a World of Hurt. It’ll help you see the big picture that God has in mind when He sends trials your way. And that in turn, will really help you respond well. Just go on-line to joniandfriends.org/radio and ask for your free gift, “A Thankful Heart in a World of Hurt. Finally, would you pray with me right now? ‘Lord Jesus, I will have many opportunities today to advance Your Gospel by my patient response to problems. I pray that as others look on, whether my family, my neighbors, or my co-workers, they will see that You give me strength to smile through it all. I know that others will be influenced by my attitude. And because You are watching Jesus, assist me to honor You today in all that I do. The stakes are that high, Jesus. In your Name I pray this, Amen’.

© Joni and Friends

 

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