DayBreaks for 11/23/12 – Two Kinds of Tests
From the DayBreaks Archive, dated 11/22/02:
James 5:1 “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you.”
“Generally speaking, there are 2 kinds of tests in life: adversity and prosperity. Of the two, the latter’s the more difficult. When adversity strikes, things get simple: survival is the goal. It is a test on maintaining the basics of food, clothing and shelter. But when prosperity comes, watch out! Things get complicated. All kinds of subtle temptations arrive, pleading for satisfaction. It is then that integrity is put to the test.” – Chuck Swindoll
I think Swindoll makes an excellent point. I’m not about to say that adversity is easier to endure than prosperity, but I don’t think that’s what Swindoll is saying. I think he’s saying that adversity gives you a very clear perspective on the things that are really necessary, which are critically important. It’s easy to understand the simple statements of Jesus: “You are either with me or against me.” There are fewer distractions to pull our attention away from fundamental things when adversity is our lot. Prosperity makes distractions multiply!
With prosperity, everything demands a bit of our attention. Not only do you think about food (‘Should I have steak or lobster tonight?”), and shelter (“Do you think we need a bigger house?”), but you can worry about stocks, bonds, but retirement (a thought that probably never occurs to those who are truly needy), whether or not the knocking sound in your car is a sign of trouble, etc. See what I mean? The things in life that have true value and which deserve our attention have to compete with a myriad of other things. Not only do “subtle temptations” come to us, but they cloud our sense of values.
Those people I know who have traveled abroad and met Christians in very poor countries have been impressed with the dedication and commitment of those who have virtually nothing. I suppose there are several reasons for that, not the least of which is they have nothing else in which to put their trust and hope. And those brothers and sisters feel blessed – and they pray for those of us in the United States with all that we have – because they feel we are the ones at a greater risk for not having focus on the things of Jesus.
Have your possessions and prosperity gotten the best of you? Do they get too much of your attention to acquire them and then maintain them? Divest! Get rid of some of your “stuff” and center of Jesus!
Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>
PRAYER: Lord, just yesterday we feasted on plenty and gave You thanks for Your blessings! Guard our hearts from the diseases that affluence offers and keep us of single mind and heart! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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