A perfect life without any trouble leaves no room for growth. We grow when we are challenged. Consider what it takes to become an exceptional athlete; every day’s training is a series of challenges designed to push you toward your maximum performance. In many ways, God is our personal trainer. God uses difficult times, struggles, emotional turmoil, and various other challenges in our lives in order to help us grow to spiritual maturity. God knows precisely what we need to reach our full potential. God knows precisely how much of a challenge we can endure. God knows precisely when to step in and provide the support needed for success in any situation. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) Not every challenge we face in life is from God, but God is with us no matter where the challenge originated.
God sometimes challenges us with a warning. This warning comes in the form of a close call, or near miss event. When we come within inches of making an enormous mistake that could lead to injury or some other kind of catastrophic failure, we have to praise God for allowing us to dodge a bullet. “Listen to advice and accept discipline, so that you may be wise the rest of your days.” (Proverbs 19:20) If we let one of these events go by without acknowledging that it was God’s hand that saved us from destruction, we are far more likely to repeat the dangerous mistake again. The challenge from God is for us to heed the warning and gain wisdom from the experience.
God sometimes challenges us to look deep inside ourselves to be certain we are moving in the right direction. The world we live in has a way of pulling us away from God and down a dark road toward destruction. When we find ourselves disconnected from God; even in what might be considered a trivial matter, we need to take a moment for self-reflection. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) God puts us in situations that challenge us in this way. How we respond to these challenges will determine our future walk with the Lord.
God sometimes challenges us to consider altering our course. Even if we’ve been walking with the Lord for a number of years, we may still be carrying with us baggage from before we were saved. Even if we’ve been walking with the Lord for a number of years, we may still pick up bad habits from our involvement in this world. Anything that is a distraction from our relationship with Jesus needs to be put aside. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) As a follower of Jesus Christ we should no longer be tempted by worldly distractions, but it happens. When it does, God will get our attention in some way and challenge us to make the needed changes.
God is always at work in our lives. God is working on you right now at this moment. Don’t let any challenge from God go by without your sincere response. Look for the warnings, search your inner being for things that are a distraction from God, and make any needed changes to secure your relationship with Jesus. If you’re living a perfect life, something’s wrong. Don’t be fooled. When you’re walking with the Lord, you will be challenged. Praise God for his instruction. Praise God for his guidance. Praise God for his everlasting love.
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