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A challenging word


The word of God can bring challenge at times as we read God’s instructions and learn His intended pattern for living. After all the whole focus of God’s message is to bring us not only to a knowledge of His salvation though the finished work of His Son Jesus Christ but also to cause us to become like that Son. That is all very easy until the word of God speaks into areas of our life that do not reflect God’s pattern and instruction for Christian living. If I read the Word and allow it to reach into my heart I find that it is not only my life choices that God challenges but also my thoughts and attitudes. In fact it is our disposition, the thoughts we think and attitudes we hold that are the primary focus of God’s word. God is not merely seeking obedience and conformity but transformation and renewal as we become more and more like our Saviour. There have been many times in my life when God has used His word to put His finger (as it were) right on a specific area or attitude in my life in order to bring about change. When I am in submission to God, and the leading of His Holy Spirit, then it becomes a joy for God to speak into my life. However when I am in opposition to the things God would have me change, it is then that it becomes a word of challenge. No challenge is fun at the time, but as we learn to see all things working together for good in our lives our view point changes. It is the quality of the trust and submission to Him that we hold that will determine whether the challenge is a painful or a joyful one. The truth is that at some point in our Christian journey we will find an area of our lives that has not yet been submitted. This is not necessarily because we are unwilling but it is a natural part of our growth and development as believers. We are born in sin and although saved, the Apostle Paul tells us that we must continually put to death the works of the flesh. It does not change the righteousness imparted to us through God’s grace by our faith in His Son. We are still accepted, still forgiven and still very much loved. The word teaches us that those who bear fruit He prunes (John 15v2) and that those He loves He chastens (Hebrews 12v6). He disciplines us to develop Godly character and spiritual strength. Challenge requires change and that is exactly what happens when we respond to God’s word. It is important for us to recognise that any challenge that God brings through His word is for our benefit and not to our determent. God challenges us to change because He loves us and desires the best for us. We might see this as part of the whole spiritual growing process. The good news is if God’s word is challenging us then we are very much alive spiritually. After all God isn’t in the business of correcting or pruning the spiritually dead.



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