Ever looked back at your life and been thankful for the struggles? We’ve all made mistakes in life. The question is, WHAT do we learn from our mistakes? Do we learn to be more careful doing the wrong thing, or do we learn to not do the wrong things again. There IS A BIG difference. It is so important to learn from our mistakes, otherwise we simply repeat them and they often lead to even deeper and more costly mistakes. Don’t let the word “mistakes” throw you. We all know that many of our “mistakes” were intentional….we just thought we could away with it and we wanted something else really bad….usually a pleasure of some sort, something to do with our pride or ego or some material thing.
Mark 9:48-50 (TNIV)
48 where ” ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 Everyone will be salted with fire. 50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
“Worms” and “fire” represent both external and internal pain. Both salt and fire were both considered to be purifying. Jesus is telling us here that we all face struggles and that if we retain the light of Jesus (the salt and the light) that we will ultimately find peace and I believe….fulfillment in life. Indeed, our lives will become more and more purified. Otherwise….we are in deep danger of hell….where the “worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched”.
There are many times in the Bible that we are told that persecution and/or struggles make us stronger. First, I want to focus on the struggles we face because of our own actions. It is important that we see them in their proper light (have the right attitude):
LIVING IN DARKNESS: We are always the victim. It’s not our fault, it’s someone else! Everything is against us and we just can’t seem to get it right. We just made a “mistake”, right? We start to even lose sight of our own part in our struggles (or we retreat into denial).
LIVING IN THE LIGHT: We seek to learn from our mistakes and struggles. We take ownership of our own actions and accept the results. We recognize that there is something to learn and we grow. Interestingly enough, this is called repentance.
1 Peter 6:6-9 (TNIV)
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Then there are struggles that are due to some sort of persecution, either because of our faith or sometimes…..simply because “life” is at times…..tough. Struggles and trials teach us patience and help us grow to be the kind of people who live daily in the kingdom.
James 1:2-5 (TNIV)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
1. Because when we live in the light our eyes are on eternal rewards rather than earthly rewards.
2. Because when we live in the light superficial belief is swept away. The life we live is “real”, not shallow and superficial.
3. Because when we live in the light we endure and our faith is strengthened.
4. Because when we live in the light we are provided an opportunity to serve as good examples to others around us.
Romans 5:3-5 (TNIV)
3……. but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.