Phases & Stages
Last time, we discussed “The Amazement Phase” and, “The Reality Phase.” We talked about the new Kingdom we have entered and our new King. His ways are higher than our ways. God does not change, but we do! This is a life-long journey, worth every effort we put into it.
We hear, “A new command I give you: Love one another as I have loved you.” Wow. That is a high standard! Therefore – we have a choice to make. We can continue handling things the way we have always handled them and get the same results we have always gotten, or we start to put His kind of love into practice.
I LOVE the word “practice.” Because that is, what it takes. Practice! I didn’t just wake up one morning playing Beethoven’s Pathetique on the piano! I had to go through a process that included a lot of training and practice! So we learn a principle from God’s ways, like . . . ‘a soft answer turns away wrath’ – and we practice that for a while. We learn the “one another” scriptures, all of which are life changing IF we will put them into practice! It takes a lifetime of practice. We fail. We make mistakes. Repeatedly, we have a choice to make – 1) give up & go back to our old way of doing things, or 2) we brush ourselves off and try God’s ways again. If we yield to that process and allow ourselves to be changed by it, there will be more beauty – especially beauty in our relationships!
The Hardship Phase
Life brings hardships. We live in a world that has been tainted and corrupted by sin. Because of that, there is sickness. There are storms, earthquakes, pestilence — just plain TROUBLE! Sometimes the people we talked about can bring us into hardship because of the decisions they make. There is divorce, child abuse, financial difficulties, work issues. I could go on and on. We all face adversity in one form or another. We may go through this phase multiple times over many years.
We have all seen people face adversity. Some face very mild adversity and they whine and complain, and it only makes things worse! We can learn from the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for forty years as an example of what NOT to do. Yet, we do it too! Others go through unbearable, unspeakable things, and they turn to the Lord and somehow, they come through it with grace, dignity, and even joy!
Proverbs 24:10 – If you falter in time of trouble, how small is your strength!
There is so much encouragement in the Scripture. During these hard times, it is so good to have relationships like those that we have here – friends to encourage us. Mentors to exhort us. Jesus, himself, in John 16, was talking to his disciples, reminding them how much he loved them, and sharing with them what they would face in the not-so-distant future. Then he tops it off by saying this:
John 16:33 – “I have told you these things so that IN ME you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Stay tuned for more “Phases & Stages,” coming soon.
To view the rest of the Stages and Phases series, follow the links:
- For part 1, click here