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Our success will not be greater than our commitment

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1Peter 1:8-9)

In Seoul, South Korea, when the day is its most gloomy, the streets are their most colorful. That’s because the streets have been adorned with beautiful murals of swimming water life, using a special hydro-chromatic paint that can only be seen when it’s wet. “Project Monsoon” is an attempt to brighten up the otherwise dreary three-week rainy monsoon season.

Every life goes through its own monsoon season. What is the Gospel but God’s mural, designed to turn a gloomy day around by reminding us of all that has been promised to us in Christ. When trials come, at the very moment the streets begin to be drenched by the monsoon, the Gospel’s promises are there to remind us of all that Jesus will one day restore.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

This passage of scripture is a lesson on how to not let our trials and temptations discourage us or defeat us. We are to use the tough times as a stepping stone to become more pure, refined and stronger. This passage offers a guide for victory over our trials and temptations.

We know that we have transgressed God’s law and were guilty and due just punishment for our rebellion against God. But Jesus has stepped in on our behalf and offered Himself as a substitute and sacrifice for us. He has taken our guilt upon Himself and died for us. This is the supreme love of Jesus Christ for us. Could anyone ever do anything greater for us?

We love Him because He has made the ultimate sacrifice by bearing the judgment for us. We love Him even though we have not seen Him and it is our love for Him that drives us to obedience, to keep His commandments, to turn away from temptation and to stand firm in our faith through any trials that we may encounter.

We stand and bear all sufferings in order to prove the power of Christ. We want to be a strong witness to His presence and power in our lives, a witness to the great hope and deliverance that He gives. We stand as a strong witness so others will turn to Him for salvation. We stand victorious over our trials and temptations by our love for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This passage tells that victory will come through our belief in Christ. Jesus’s own words speak of this required truth in John 6:28-29 — Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

If we believe in Christ, follow Him and stay in Christ then we will be able reject and turn away from all temptations and stand firm, relying upon His presence and power to conquer and to carry us through all trials.

We are told that we can be victorious by rejoicing and by the inexpressible joy that fills our hearts. Joying and rejoicing in the Lord and His presence will stir us to stand against temptations and trials. Joy and rejoicing will help us to focus upon Christ and His glorious power. Words cannot describe this joy that every genuine believer experiences. Matthew Henry states:

“This joy is inexpressible, it cannot be described by words; the best discovery is by an experimental taste of it; it is full of glory, full of heaven. There is much of heaven and the future glory in the present joys of…Christians”

On January 27th, 2015, Auschwitz commemorated the 70th anniversary of its liberation by Allied Forces. In attendance was 81 year old Eva Mozes Kor, an Auschwitz survivor who lost her parents, two of her sisters, her grandparents, and several aunts and uncles at the hands of the Nazis. She and her twin sister, just ten years old at the time of their capture, were among only 200 sets of twins out of 1500 who survived the vicious “medical” experiments of the infamous “Angel of Death,” Dr. Josef Mengele.

Twenty years prior, at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the camp, Kor was reported to have written a letter stating, “I had the power to forgive. No one could give me the power, or take it away from me. I refused to be a victim, and now I am free.”

It was reported that, “Eva has returned to Auschwitz, and always dances on the platform where she saw her family for the last time. ‘That’s where they took away the joy of my life and my family,’ she says. ‘This way, I reclaim it.'”

Life on this sin cursed earth may rob us of our freedom, our health, our possessions, our good fortune or fame, but it cannot rob us of our joy. To possess a joyful heart and attitude is a volitional decision which we can choose to make each and every day.

Do you feel you’ve been robbed of your joy by some trial, tragedy, or circumstance? Choose today to dance upon the platform of your sorrows and reclaim it!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

The final directive offered in this passage that will bring us to victory over the trials and temptations that we face is to keep our eyes focused on the salvation of our souls. This is the goal to which we all should be moving toward. As in any successful endeavor we have to always stay focused upon our goal. The greater our focus, the stronger we become in standing against all obstacles. The more we focus on the salvation of our souls the stronger we become to reject and turn away temptation and to conquer the trials of this life.

Ultimately life will prove to us that our success in our trials and against temptations will never be greater than our commitment to loving, believing, rejoicing in and focusing on Christ. My prayer for all is that we let our love for Jesus, our belief in Him, the inexpressible joy that is in our heart because of Him and our focus on salvation thanks to Him, successfully carry us through anything life may send our way. In Jesus’s name I do pray. Amen

(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)

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