Achieving God-sized purposes require abiding in Christ as we overcome adversity. To endure the suffering that this journey often brings, we must all have the powers of perseverance, courage, and faith in us. God realizes this; consequently, He uses trials to make us ready for anything by strengthening these three areas. So as we face trials, don’t lose hope; freedom will someday occur if we stay connected to the Vine a little longer.
God has a purpose for both you and me - to transform this world to the extent God wants it to be changed. To do this, we must always “remain in Christ” because “apart from Him, we cannot produce any fruit” (John 15:5). Since God wants to show the world His great power by having us do through Him “something only He can do”, the journey we must run will be filled with rough terrain. However, as we “face many trials and sorrows”, there is hope. The same Messiah that we are to stay connected to “has overcome the world” (John 16:33).
When facing adversity, purposes can get achieved when our faith in God is stronger than our doubts. James Freeman Clarke once said, “All the strength and forces of man comes from his faith in things unseen. He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.” If we just have “faith even as small a mustard seed”, we can move our mountains of life and complete any task God has for us (Matthew 17:20). Unfortunately, doubt can prevent us from doing miracles through Christ like it did to Peter in Matthew 14:22-34.
In that passage of scripture, Peter started to walk on water because of faith as he kept his eyes on Jesus. Unfortunately, when fear diverted his attention away from Jesus and toward the stormy waves, doubt caused Peter to sink. However, when Peter sought his Messiah for help, Jesus reached out His hand and saved Him. Then Jesus asked Peter: “You don’t have much faith. Why did you doubt me?” (verse 31).
That story is like many of us today. We start our mission with progress as we stay connected to the Vine. Problems occur as we begin to focus on fear and not on Jesus. We start to sink. We next scream for help and Jesus then saves us. Jesus then wonders why we doubted Him. Then we start the entire process over again. So how do we move beyond our doubts and fears?
“Feed your faith, and your doubts will starve to death” (Les Brown). This is true because doubt and faith are opposites. The more you have of one, the less you have of the other. Also when you have more faith, you usually have less fear. This happens because fear is often intensified by doubt. So if you control doubt by increasing your faith, you can also “starve fear to death”.
You begin “feeding your faith” by listening to the Word of God (Romans 10:17) - those Biblical truths told by a “God who never tells a lie” (Hebrews 6:18). Next, as you face adversity in life, you recognize the truthfulness of those promises of God as you rely upon them for support. Thirdly, when Satan tells you those lies of doubt and fear, expose him as a liar and he will flee from you (Matthew 4:1-11). Finally, act against the fear as you trust God in surrender. That is how you increase your faith.
As you work to build faith, you will often face life struggles that make you want to give up the fight. When that happens, you will need perseverance to continue on. To persevere, one must have strong endurance to last despite adverse conditions. God knows that. Because of that reason, similar to how a trainer builds his athlete’s endurance through vigorous training, God uses trials to “build our endurance to make us ready for anything” (James 1:3-4). He uses “suffering to produce perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). In doing this, God won’t let the trial become too overwhelming or without an escape route (1 Corinthians 10:13). His goal is to mold ordinary people into obedient, purpose-driven, warriors of life.
David is an example of an everyday person used by God with a purpose to give freedom to the world around him. Just a shepherd boy, God used David’s many successful experiences of protecting sheep from wild animals (1 Samuel 17:34) to mold David into a warrior that would someday protect his people from their giants. Nobody believed David could kill Goliath; no one except him and God. His previous experiences of being protected by God from bears and lions gave him the hope and endurance to persevere. However, being able to persevere alone is insufficient without it being backed up by the power of God.
During his confrontation with his giant, David had power because he “came in the name of the Lord Almighty” (verse 45). His ability to keep his focus on God and not on those waves kept him strong under duress. When Goliath threatened David with statements of fear and destruction, David responded with the truth: “Today the Lord will conquer you . . .” (verse 46) as he realized that “the battle was God’s and not his own” (verse 47). Because David recognized the truthfulness of God’s promise of deliverance, David was able to prevent fear and doubt from conquering his mind. The world then realized the greatness of God as David (through God) killed Israel’s giant.
In life, we all have our own giant that must be conquered in order for freedom to reign. The giant may be in the form of abuse, illness, financial struggles, addictions, depression, sin, or the loss of a loved one. Whatever it may be, when we conquer our giant by staying connected to Vine, we give hope and insight to others of how to do the same. That is how we change the world.
Purposes get achieved when people stay connected to the Vine; no matter the circumstances; no matter the adversity. Again Jesus said: “ . . .On this earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33). Talking to the saved, this same Messiah who overcame death lives in your heart today. When you abide in Him, you have the power to move any mountain, to overcome any adversity, to sleigh any giant. Don’t let doubt and fear stop you from doing what you are meant to do!
God has given each of us a dream and the power to pursue it. It is our choice what we are going to do with it.