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Losses & Gains

June 23, 2024

Dr. Paul Cannings

Have you ever felt you are losing when God keeps saying you are winning (Romans 8:37; Philippians 4:13)? Sometimes it sounds unreasonable, like “be anxious for nothing…..”(Philippians 4:6); Ahhhhh…, nothing? Have you ever felt that the more you obey God, the more your trials intensify (Psalm 34:19)? This is not unusual (there are numerous examples of this in the scripture), and it is just not very encouraging.

We are most times not as excited for the Lord to build our faith (James 1:2-4; Hebrews 12:4-11) because our hearts are more set on being rewarded for our faith (Hebrews 11:6). It is interesting that after Hebrews 11 verse 6 states that the ‘Hall of Faith’ listed only those who, because they remained faithful, their faith in the midst of trials was rewarded.

We celebrate when our team wins the Super Bowl. Still, we often forget how long each player played, including how long they were in numerous practices, sometimes battling multiple injuries, and innumerable hits to every part of their body to obey a playbook and please a coaching staff. To be taken off the field on a stretcher, go to the hospital, remain awhile, and still come back and play, demonstrates an incredible love for the game, not fame, or money.

When obeying God, whether because we are Christians or go to church, building our faith can seem laborious, especially amid numerous trials. When in the midst of enduring trials, if we remain determined to trust God (for example, Daniel; Daniel 1:8), demonstrated by our commitment to hold to His Word, we expose our love for God, which in turn, causes our faith to deepen. “If you love Me, you will keep my commandment.” (John 14:15). Paul’s numerous intense trials grew him. He, who once battled the flesh (Romans 7:14-20), says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Christ’s commitment to His Father led to suffering, but it also exposed His faith, empowered His prayer life, and demonstrated His love for His Father. Our trials do make it seem like we are losing. We only lose ourselves as we gain Christ (John 12:23-26), which only happens because of our love for Him (1 John 2:3-6). This improves our faith and exposes the power of the Holy Spirit, who is greater (1 John 4:4), so we become conquerors.