Life is hard and change is challenging. The difficulty of life has gotten on and in every one of us to some degree or another. The opportunity for those things that have impacted us negatively to be redeemed for the promise of glory takes time. Time require perseverance and perseverance holds a promise.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12.
Happiness (blessing) is only available when we push through the tough stuff and the tough stuff is certain to be part of the deal. There is eternal reward that is available in increasing measure as we persevere but we’ve got to stay in the game to experience the treasure. There are only two options; in or out. There is no third choice.
The decisions we make to keep going won’t come from our discipline. Our discipline will come from our love for God. Our love for God will come from Him (1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”) If we’ll receive His love, we can love Him back. From our love, we’ll choose Him despite the trials that test that love.
Walking this deal out is much more difficult than walking my former deal out ever was. The previous life of unadulterated depravity grounded in my selfishness was easy and required very little sacrifice. My comfort and enjoyment were the treasure, so I could experience the temporary enjoyment of reward by protecting my circumstances and relationships to fit my appetites.
That was temporal and shallow and only lasted as long as the party did. This is rich and forever and difficult as there is typically nothing particularly comfortable about it. This requires death to my selfishness instead of feeding it. That sacrifice is an everyday sacrifice and it never becomes easy, it just becomes more natural. That is, my nature changes.
There is a reward of life in the form of crowns that we get from loving Him. It starts with receiving His love and results in us giving the crowns back to Him. It starts and ends with Him at the cost of me. As upside down and backward as that is to the previous way of thinking, that’s where happiness resides and the party never ends.