“and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Rom. 14:23

Suffering, trials, afflictions and such are avoided at all costs by the people of this world. There seems to be this idea that a Christian can go through the world enjoying its pleasures and every material blessing it offers, seeking only self and Self’s satisfaction and then in the end hop over to the next world and enjoy all the pleasures there. This is not so. God has made it very clear that anyone who lives to enjoy this world and its pleasures is forsaking the next world and that only those who forsake this world  for the sake of Christ are invited to enjoy the pleasures in the next. Luke 9:24.

Why would we think that our walk through this life would be easy and without trial when our Lord’s was wrought with pain and grief and suffering. God came to take the sting out of death, not out of living of this life. If we are to be like our master we will have to follow him down a difficult road led by the power of the Spirit that offers victory through faith.

Far too many who call themselves Christians live moment by moment only consulting their own mind, heart and will to decide what they will do. The life of Christ is lived by faith and obedience to God’s will. If you always do what you want to do and what you think is best for you, where is the faith in that? Without faith it is impossible to please God. And whatever is not of faith is sin. It is when we choose to obey God and perform his will against all we think or want that we truly exercise faith. There is absolutely no faith in exercising what I think will work best for me.

My reading yesterday from one of my devotions brought this point out very nicely. I share that with you now below:

“The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

Since faith is “the assurance of things hoped for”, it is our best help, in suffering, for it teaches us to counterbalance our temptations with our hopes. When the devil would make you faint and lazy in the work of the Lord, faith reveals the present difficulty as temporary. When the devil creates irksome thoughts of duty, faith represents the endless delights to follow. The believer determines it is better to go to heaven with labor, than to hell with pleasure. This made Moses so victorious (Hebrews 11:26). Looking upon the reward greatly influences our life. Foretastes of heaven will bring such a strong influence in the heart of the believer, that all the reasons in the world cannot alter or break the force of our spiritual purpose. When we are tempted to neglect duty for worldly advantages, our faith looks on to our high calling, and the riches of the heavenly Jerusalem. If we are tempted to seek worldly honor, faith takes a look at the crown of righteousness that God will give us on that day. If the fear of disgrace makes us loosen and slacken our duty, our faith considers the confusion of face the wicked shall see as they appear before the throne of the Lamb. When we are tempted to murmur and repine under the cross, faith will assure that though the way is rough, the end of the journey will be sweet. His promises protect our hearts from poison and preserve the soul in a holy bravery for God. They tell us of the rivers of pleasure that stream out of the heart of Jesus Christ, and the sweet contentment we shall enjoy with God forever more. O! When time begins to draw to an end to go into the other world, what would we give to live our lives again? Oh how diligent, watchful, and serious we would be if we had the sense of eternity upon our hearts!
–Thomas Manton, By Faith, Sermons on Hebrews 11