It is natural we turn to the Lord in times of hardships. It is also acceptable to remind Him of them to find relief. Yet, there is one thing we must do that our turning to Him gives confidence for His mercy. By it our supplications become pleasing to Him. It is the ingredient many fail to use; it is like salt for food. As much as food is tasteless without salt, so are our supplications without it. With it we can expect God to come to our aid. It implies we have prior experience with Him. It is explained in these words. “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands” (Ps. 143:5).
Several things take place when we do the above in addition to our righteous supplications. Firstly, our prayers have substance. Second, we obtain strength and determination to spend more quality time with God. In doing so, we then are able to pour out our hearts before Him. Then, we find reasons to rejoice and gain immense assurance to continue in life. We also reiterate to ourselves the mightiness of God. We safely assume God to aid us in a miraculous way. Finally, we resist the intent of Satan to quibble, hurt and destroy us. The foremost benefit from all this is sustaining an intimate relationship with God. It is the lack of such relationship that many do not seek Him in times of trouble, unwilling to persevere and then seek their own ways to get out of trouble.
The greatest asset for believers’ joy is intimate relationship with God. If it is maintained at all times, they will safely complete their journey in this life. Now, doing that which is said by the man of God is suggestive of our love and reverence toward God; it is suggestive of our total dependence on Him; it is suggestive of the only option we chose. We make time for it every day, because it keeps us closer to God, His thoughts, principles and encourages us to be bold. Other than it there is nothing else present to overcome the world. It is indicative of our faith in God. Furthermore, it helps us measure our behavior before Him. We quickly understand His righteousness, justice and mercy. And the greater benefit is procuring the wisdom and knowledge of God. We mature in Christ to a standard that our words become education to others. Having begun with hardship that found us deficient, we end up being much more complete and adequate. What does it mean?
1. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men” (Matt. 5:13). God uses us to accomplish His vision for mankind. We bring salvation to them as well as make believers lively for God. When someone is lacking regarding life, God uses us. This extends even to unbelievers. The primary purpose of being the salt God wants is to give people a taste of God and His attributes. This then indicates the huge responsibility God placed on us. Hence, Jesus warns us of becoming tasteless. To be tasteless is living a disobedient life and a life not oriented on faith. Then, we are no longer good for God for His vision. We are still saved, but without regard among men. Our speech and acts are confusing and the consequences they bring hold us in low esteem.
2. We always automatically tend to be humble. One of the outcomes of musing on God’s works and ways of old is coming to know our stature before Him. So, when we make requests, we are humble. In everything we start out with humility and reap the satisfaction, victory and rewards of it. One of the things God looks for in us is the willingness to be humble at any time. Usually men do not like to practice humility before others, but rather feign it. To them it is always about themselves. As it is, they are never subservient to God. If believers acquire their nature, they instinctively act proud before God. On the contrary, humility justifies before God, since in it there is no sin except the honoring of God. Hence, Jesus said, “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).
3. We make it our objective to be honest before God. We do not act for the sake of men, but in the fear of God. Often we face situations where we worry about what should be done or have to choose between the right and the wrong. Some of them appear when no one is watching us. Satan works to make us guilty. He presses us to be weak. If we become weak, he sniffs it and works on it; he even knows the thoughts that appear thereof. But because we are much more complete and adequate, we quickly restore our emotions to honor God. Remember, facing temptation is not sin, but acting on it is. God too allows him near us so that we rejoice in victory. In all those times we warred to be honest before Him. For example, if we faced a situation like these people, we would do the right thing. “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property” (Acts 5:1).
4. We inevitably please God at all times. We have learned, through hardships, to subject ourselves to God. It includes mind, spirit and body. The experience gained from overcoming hardships empowers us to resist the workings of the flesh. We find ourselves being stronger in Christ. In fact, we even take a little pride in it. Pleasing God is a life involving calculations; it is a constant weighing up of the fleshly things against the heavenly things; it is choosing the thoughts of the Spirit over the flesh. It is in every area of our life. It is ascertaining the useless motives of the flesh and sacrificing them. By it we fully reverberate the saying, “and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8).
5. We can always think of the impact we should have on others for Christ. When Paul had said the following to Peter, it is what he had in mind. “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (Gal. 2:14). Anyone can be vulnerable to behave like Peter. Both were apostles. Yet, one was more forthcoming for God than the other. Both suffered for Christ up until that moment and yet, only one fully held on to the knowledge of it than the other. Both have eternal life and its rewards more than most. Yet, getting carried away is not something that was in Paul. Will it be a Peter or Paul that springs up from us? It all depends on how tightly we hold on to that which took away our deficiency. Surely, God solved the issue for Peter by a reprimand so that we may not need one.
6. We do not give the world an opportunity to surprise us and become weak or even fail to purport Jesus. For through the wisdom and the knowledge of God we procured we clearly figure out the nature of darkness. So, the saying goes for us: “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief” (1 Thess. 5:4).