Secret Recipe

How often do you hear people say, “That church just doesn’t do anything for me.” Or, “I just don’t get anything from going there.” How often are you guilty of going to church to feed on the message, the activities, the “entertainment”, not willing to offer anything from yourself? I’m guilty.

“I went up…to Jerusalem…by revelation and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach” (Galatians 2:1–2). Paul didn’t go to Jerusalem because he was looking for something, he went to share something with them. He went to share what God wanted to reveal through him.

Paul didn’t learn what he preached about in a library with books and commentaries. He didn’t isolate himself from the crowd and write down his message, thinking, “Someday my work will be read by future generations.” Paul wrote his many chapters in dark, damp prison cells, while wiping the blood from his back after being scourged. He wrote them as a shipwreck survivor, after crawling from the sea.

Everything Paul knew and taught was learned on the battlefield of faith, and he rejoiced about his trials, saying, “now I can preach with all authority to every sailor who’s been through a shipwreck, to every prisoner who’s been locked up with no hope, to everybody who has ever looked death in the face. God’s Spirit is making me a tested veteran, so I can speak his truth to everyone who has ears to hear.”

We will never attain the glory of God by praying our way out of every inconvenient or horrible circumstance. True spirituality is going to come to us right where we are—in the bad or good life events. God doesn’t always lift us out of our pain, but He will always walk through it with us.

Paul’s secret recipe to living a glory-filled life was a willingness to accept his conditions without complaining. “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). The Greek word for content means “to ward off.” So Paul is saying, “I don’t try to get out of my situation, I don’t beg God to lift me out, I own it. I have faith that the Lord is doing something I may not understand, but whatever it is, it will bless my life and the lives of others.”

Our job in every circumstance is to trust God. He can provide all the power and resources we need. It doesn’t mean we enjoy our bad situations, it’s just that we no longer try to protect ourselves from them. We leave that up to our Father and trust that He is shaping us into the image of his Son.

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