Every path to heaven leads through territory occupied by the devil. To reach our desired destination, we’re going to have to fight. Indeed, it sometimes seems that we have to fight every step of the way. Heaven will not be reached by the cowardly.
God is working toward a lasting solution to our real problem. Rather than patch our wounds with a superficial bandage, He gave His Son to atone for our sins. That opens the door to HOPE — hope that our hearts will be filled up when we reach home.
Spiritual maturity often grows in a “wilderness” of difficulty. When tribulations test us and we’re driven out into the desert, it’s critically important that we discipline our minds. The wilderness is no place for the weak-minded or the careless.
Love is the very antithesis of selfishness. It lifts us out of self-centered thinking and sets us free to enjoy a better focus. It gets us out of ourselves and into a connection with all those external things that we were meant to be related to.
Why not see our suffering through the eyes of love? If we have no honorable choice but to suffer, we can at least choose to suffer lovingly. From the list of possible reasons why we would submit to pain, we can select love and let that be our motive.
Temporal concerns have a seductive, powerful pull on virtually every human being. And if we say we’ve got our this-worldly desires under control, almost any objective person could probably look at the way we spend our time and see that we don’t.
If God chooses to be patient with those who’ve wronged us, punishing them less than they deserve, shouldn’t we be grateful for that? And besides, we may not even have been wronged. As the Lord sees things, our enemies may have a better case than we.
After eternity has begun, it will be too late to begin acquiring a taste for the things that make God glad. Now is the time to do that. Now is the time to make sure that what we like most of all is to rejoice at the joy of our Father.
When we turn to God, faithfully obeying the gospel, what we’re seeking salvation from is the wreckage of our own sinful hearts and lives. And the wonder of the gospel is that God can do this. He can rebuild a heart that we have wrecked.
As Christians, the new delight we can have in God is the real thing. It’s what we were made for. It’s all we’ve ever dreamed of and then some. And the main thing about it is that it centers on God Himself. He, in the end, is all we really desire.