I remember a number of years ago, my life in Christ was suffering. What I mean is, I knew what the Lord wanted from me in accordance with His word, but I was not living that life. The past and the world were pulling very hard. I was struggling to understand where I fit into God’s plan. I was finding it hard to set aside the world and live solely for Christ. It seemed I was living in a world that was not my home. I was blaming myself for all of my mistakes both past and present and was slowly walking back to my life before Jesus Christ. I needed encouragement and someone who would walk with me to understand what was going on. God provided such a person. His name is James and he lives in Florida.
I found it a little strange that James and I would come together, but God led me to call a dear friend. I talked with him for about an hour and he led me to contact James. He said that James had helped him and that I should call him. So I did.
James is a “Life Coach”. That was the ministry God called him into and he used it to glorify God and impact Christian brothers in the Lord. I told him that I felt that I was a stranger in the world. That I loved Jesus with all my heart yet the world didn’t understand me. The world was persecuting me and I was being beaten down. I felt I had no strength left to fight back and that it would be better for me to return to the world and be a part of something that I was familiar with. You see, I followed the world and its ways for 44 years before I gave my life to Jesus.
James told me that I was chosen by God and set apart to do His will. He told me that it wasn’t by accident that I was facing the struggle. He said that I should expect persecution. But he also told me that I was not able to fight the world and the enemy by myself. If I did, I would lose. I needed God and His Word.
Over the weeks to come, James and I talked and he taught me so much from the truth of God’s Word. He encouraged me in the Word and our conversations began to get longer and longer. He taught me about “Self-Talk” and how each morning I should speak the promises of the God in His Word before I started my day. You see God appointed James to be a part of my life before time began and I was like a sponge; soaking up everything I could. It was God’s infinite grace being poured out on me.
God used James to impact my life at a time of great personal struggle. He taught me that I was important to God. You see, the more we learn to follow and obey Christ, the more we are set apart for Him, the less comfortable we will be in this world and the less we will be a part of its social standards.
Peter said this in 1 Peter 1.2: “…we have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” We have been chosen before time began. Peter also says that, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” (1 Peter 1:6 NIV)
God used James to teach me that I can rejoice in Christ no matter what I’m facing. My life in Christ was Holy Spirit birthed and through the suffering God is using me to be salt and light to this world.
If you would like to learn more about being “Exiles in Hope: Living in a World That’s Not Our Own, click on this link: http://painesvilleag.com/exiles-in-hope. Here you will hear a powerful message from our Lead Pastor, Aaron Taylor.
Friend, be encouraged. Grace and peace is yours in abundance! Peter used this greeting in all thirteen of his letters. I use this to conclude my letter to you… that when we begin to discover God’s grace, we can then begin to walk in peace.
Glory to God!