They tried to destroy and trip me so badly I wouldn’t get up anymore, Pushing me down in the mud and the mire Until I was deep in despair.
James 1:12: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
This morning I felt as though I had a cloud of heaviness hanging over me. Everything looked dark and futile. My past sins and mistakes seemed to be all I could see, and I heard the enemy whisper, "This is who you will always be and know." I knew it wasn't true, but the heaviness was far too strong for me.
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth (Hebrews 12:6).
For years I struggled with the idea of God's chastening in my life. Especially the idea of God chastening me without me knowing why. I would never punish my own children without first making sure they understand why. And yet I had to be honest, in many of the difficult things I've faced in my life, I have not had a clear reason for them. Is there a difference between trials and chastening? How can I know the difference? You cannot love and trust a God who seems to delight in hurting you. And yet scriptures are very clear on the value and need for God's chastening in our lives. This is by no means conclusive, but here are a few thoughts that have helped clear things up for me.
What is the source of our justification?
Romans 8:6 says: For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
We can know whether we are living in the Old or the New Covenant by whether we are walking in life and peace. In the Old Covenant, the continual focus was; Do this, don’t do that, and you will be accepted by God. This is called the “spirit of bondage” leading to fear (Romans 8:15). Fear, insecurity, condemnation, and discouragement are the fruits of trying to find acceptance with God with our own performance. No matter how sincere or diligent we are, this mindset will always lead to death. Our good will never out-weigh our bad. Any righteous works we do to make ourselves acceptable to God will always be repulsive to Him (Isaiah 64:6).