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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Road That Leads to Life, continued
For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. (Psalms 66:10-12—NIV)
Christ allows Satan to put us in prison to test us. We suffer persecution to test us. Christ's response is to pray for us.
Christ tells us the trial is for a specific length of time. God, not Satan, is in control of our testing.
A fine group of believers, but now the Smyrnans are faced with a hurdle in the middle of the road to eternal life.
The issue is, will they remain faithful during their imprisonment and persecution, or will they take matters into their own hands and try to find a way out?
This was the trial facing Eve: "Should I trust God to give me what is best for me or should I take matters into my own hands?"
If we are to walk the road to eternal life we must always resist the temptation to take matters into our own hands.
"How long do I have to stay in this prison? How long do I have to put up with this situation?"
The answer is, as long as God sees your pain to be necessary.
If you are to get the full benefit from the prison you are put in you must be faithful to the point of death. You must put your hopes beyond the grave. You must deposit your treasures in Heaven.
If you do not, if you insist on getting what you want in the present world, you will never follow the road that leads to life to its glorious end.
Listen to me! If you do not stay faithfully with God, trusting Him to bring you forth, you will never rule with Christ, for this is how the crowns are formed.
As for the rulers of the ages to come, many are called but few are chosen. If we follow Christ to the extent that we pass from the ranks of the called to the ranks of the chosen, we then must be proven faithful. Those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.
How do we walk the road to life?
First we find out what God is requiring of us. We may find out from hearing the Word preached, or reading the Word, or from an experience, or from some other quarter.
In the case of the Smyrnans the challenge was to remain faithful during imprisonment and persecution until death brought an end to their suffering.
What comes next?
The all-important action—repentance.
The road to life is one of continual repentance. Not continual guilt or condemnation or depression or sorrow or gloominess but continual repentance!
To repent is to make up your mind to do God's will, to turn away from what you are doing and go in God's direction.
Repentance is not the same as feeling sorry you are sinful. Repentance is an act of will. "Choose this day to serve the Lord!"
The reason people do not get delivered from their sinful ways is that they do not repent forcefully enough. You have to repent with all your might. You have to repent ferociously, letting the devil, God, and sometimes people know that you have made up your mind to do God's will.
To be continued.