Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Power of a Problem


God designed life so that every problem we face comes power packed with the potential to strengthen us and make us more like Him. God does not bring us problems such as: temptations; tests; trials or tribulations, they come from any number of other places. Nonetheless God is committed not only to comfort His children but also to increase their strength and substance so that the more they are mistreated by this world, the more potential they have to multiply and grow. It is a law of God.

So many times when we encounter problems we never stop to imagine the potential resident in that problem. The potential begins to be realized when we invite God into our problem. He helps us to find victory in the midst of the problem, even before we gain victory over the problem. And, many times we must embrace victory in the situation before we can fully experience victory over the situation.

Problems come power packed with potential. Today we are going to discover how to unleash the power of our problems and turn our trials into testimonies.

Even when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death God prepares a table for you in the presence of your enemies and He also commands goodness and mercy to follow you everywhere you go. We don’t always recognize His promise of provision and the potential in the valley because we get so focused on the problems in the valley.

James, one of the younger half brothers of Jesus, (James being the son of both Joseph and Mary), became the Senior Pastor of the first Church. James was given the responsibility of leading the Apostles, Elders, Deacons and congregation members through those difficult early years of great persecution in Jerusalem. Problems abounded and trouble seemed on every side. Neither the Jews nor the Roman government had much tolerance for these new followers of Jesus. Persecutions and executions were commonly dealt to the Believer along with all manner of temptation which the devil brought during those days.

In efforts to help the Believer focus on the potential and not focus on the problem, Pastor James writes:

James 1
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Pastor James reveals two key elements to unlocking the potential which is resident in temptations, afflictions, trials, persecutions and tribulations. He gave us two factors which turn trials into testimonies are:

1. Trust (faith)
2. Time (patience)

If you are in the middle of a temptation, you can turn that trial into a testimony by discovering and releasing the potential in that problem. You don’t have to be a victim, you can be victorious – even over death, hell and the grave – how much more over the temporal afflictions of this life.

At times it’s hard to imagine a testimony when you are facing a trial.

However, God inspired James to teach us how to walk through difficult places without being defeated by those difficulties.

Every testimony was at one time a trial.

(Room for a personal testimony of faith and patience – trust and time – turning your trial into a testimony – Barrenness; Loveless; Loss)

It is our trust in God which holds us steady on course during the time we are going through some things we do not want, in order to get to some things we do want. Our trust in God enables us to maintain focus on the promise and not the problem. Trust in God gives time to discover the potential and release the power. When we trust God He turns our trials into testimonies.

This was true for Noah, it was true for Job, it was true for Moses and Esther, Rahab and David, it was true for Paul and true for Jesus, and it is true for me and true for you as well.

Trust and time turns our trials into testimonies.

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.

Hebrews 6:12 That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Psalms 27:13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

There is potential in the problem you face; a testimony hidden in your trial; potential yet undiscovered in the pressures of life; there is victory in your valley. Trust God, invite Him into your problem and be patient. Give Him the time He requires to complete His work in you and on you so He can work for you and through you.

Do you need faith or patience? They are both fruits of the Holy Spirit. These fruits grow quickly and abundantly in the hearts and minds of those who spend time in the Word, Worship and Fellowship of God.

Don’t let the devil convince you that you are a victim or that you’re all alone in your trouble. Reach out to God and to others and keep yourself involved in life, work, family and the Church. God wants to insulate you, it’s the devil who wants to isolate you. Invite God into your problem.

Perhaps God is speaking to some of you right now. You need to turn your problem over to God and trust Him with the outcome. Believe me, no matter how bad it may be right now, you can make it worse. The only thing you need to add to your problems is God … He can make something good out of anything you give Him … even you.

The journey to turning your trials into testimonies begins with the first step. That step may just lead you right down here to the altar. Let’s pray!