Does the Bible teach smooth sailing for true Christians?
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HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG Proclaim to the World the GOOD NEWS OF THE WORLD TOMORROW
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Some seem to think Christians should never encounter difficulties, meet trials or tests, but be blessed continually with smooth sailing!
Does the Bible teach smooth sailing for true Christians? Did the men of God, whose lives pleased God, as recorded in the Bible, have only an easy time of it, or were they constantly meeting trials, tests, troubles of every sort — being continually forced to cry out to God for deliverance?
Listen to God's own instruction: "MANY are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Eternal delivereth him out of them all" (Ps. 34:19).
"For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.... They are not in trouble as other men... Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.... For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning (Ps. 73:3-14).
"... We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
"All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12).
"If we SUFFER, we shall also reign with him... (II Tim. 2:12).
But is God unfair? Does He hate Christians and punish them, while He loves the ungodly and prospers them? Not at all!
God does not bless the ungodly with wealth — they acquire it usually in one or both of two ways: by setting their heart and mind on acquiring it, and following through this purpose to the exclusion of all else, until without realizing it, the pursuit of MONEY becomes the pursuit of their god, destroying the soul; or by dishonest means.
But God does bless those who seek Him first — not always with great monetary wealth, but always, in the end, with material prosperity they never would have had otherwise. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," admonished Jesus, "and all these things (material prosperity in shelter, food, clothing, etc.) shall be added unto you." That is Jesus' PROMISE. God loves to see His servants prospering. So He says through David and John. He corrects and chastens every son whom He loves. He allows His true children to suffer much — to fall into troubles, difficulties, to face trials and tests for their strengthening. But if we endure these tests, hard though they may be — and if we seek first our God, His righteousness, and His Kingdom, putting material interests second in our hearts, then in His own due time God will always prosper His children even in a material way!
Moses suffered affliction in order to lead the children of God, choosing this rather than the riches of the king's palace and the pleasures of sin for a season.
David suffered constant criticism and false accusation, his enemies continually tried to unseat him, and his trials were so great sometimes it seemed God would never come to his rescue — yet God always did! Truly these trials teach us to be patient — for it often seems an eternity before God finally delivers us.
Every Christian shall suffer persecution, and meet fiery trials, sorrows, troubles, tests of faith. All our readers who are Christians will understand. Let us not murmur or grumble. Let us have FAITH, and endure in our faith patiently. And above all, let us pray one for another, and help one another!
Let us continue to pray earnestly for one another, and we shall march forward through Christ to great victory!