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If I offered you a new, crisp one-hundred dollar bill, would you accept it? What if I first crumpled it up and submerged it into a concoction of oil, mud, and blood? The bill might be tattered and dirty, but it’s still worth the same amount.
You have an enemy who wants to drag you through the mud. He wants you to forget who you are. Or, better yet, he’d like you to never figure out or accept who you really are.
Living and Breathing Means Encountering Resistance
You have a force working against you as you discover who you are. If you somehow manage to learn who God made you to be, then the evil one will work to make sure you don’t believe or can’t accept who you really are. He’ll try to get you to think you’re worth less (worthless).
Fortunately for you and I, this strategy of the enemy will backfire eventually, like all of his strategies.
How? Because whatever the evil one plans for discomfort and destruction, God can turn it around and use it for good. Note, however, you’ll still experience some darkness, discomfort, and even some deterioration.
Understanding the truth is difficult when life isn’t working out in your favor. In the end, though, the enemy can only redecorate your life. He can’t destroy it.
Joseph is a great example of patience during suffering. His brothers betrayed him and at the end of his life, he still felt compassion for them. He saw his life events, the good and the bad, with a positive view of God.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Growing Stronger Requires Befriending Resistance
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12-13
If you want to grow stronger, you must actively face some resistance. All else equal, in light gravity, you lose muscle and bone strength. In heavy gravity, you gain strength.
You can’t live without hope but equally true is: you can’t live without exercising your body and mind.
When who you are is under attack, you must resist the untruths. During the process of refuting what isn’t true, you’ll learn what is true about you.
Therefore, whenever you’re feeling discouraged by life, remind yourself, “I have value no matter what I look like or feel like on the outside. This body I have today is temporary. My spirit is eternal. God’s going to make me a new body in the next life.” And, bonus! God has already started the cleanup process, so you can experience some comfort in this life.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.