Life is difficult

Greetings Fellow Christians, in the name of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. As I sat down to pen this article, one thought seemed to suddenly captivate my mind, and that was this “Life is difficult.”

Contrary to the preaching and teaching of that American occult tradition known as “New Thought,” or its offshoot, the “Prosperity Gospel,” an umbrella term for a group of ideas popular among charismatic preachers of the evangelical tradition who equate Christian faith with material, and particularly financial success, problems in this fallen world will not go away. Jesus Himself says in the 16th Chapter of John:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (:33)

Too many people, even devout Christians, have been led into believing in what Luther called a “Theology of Glory,” in which God will clear our earthly lives of problems and suffering. They hear this theology of glory, often wrapped in New Thought or Prosperity Gospel clothing, on TV or in some Sunday morning sermon and Satan makes it sound so good to them that they are willing to re-fashion our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ into some type of almighty vending machine… a supernatural Santa Claus, so to speak… whose only desire is to make them rich and give them a trouble-free earthly existence. Don’t be deceived! That is not Jesus. He came to forgive our sins and redeem us, not to isolate us from the world mankind’s sin corrupted.

The “Theology of the Cross,” one of Luther’s great theological rediscoveries, shows us that contrary to the Theology of Glory type of false thinking, we will continue to, at times, struggle with groaning and suffering throughout our earthly life. However; we will not suffer or groan alone! For God has shown His love for us in Christ Jesus and in Him we can be confident that He will support and comfort us through all of our worldly trials and tribulations, according to His good and gracious will.

Does this mean we might suffer? Yes. Does it mean we might overcome our trials and afflictions and perhaps receive healing? Yes, we may, as He so wills. But He wants us to pray to Him and lean on Him and trust in Him, no matter what. For He is God! His will be done. He is our Lord and Master, not some Genie in a bottle.

So dear friends, if you have been led down the Fantasy Fareway of some false Gospel, you need to re-connect with your True Savior and take comfort in the Spirit He suffered and died to bring to you. The Evangelist Paul tells us why he did:

“For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also, we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even as we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:20-23)

Joseph and Mary named their son Jesus not because they had some inkling of who he would become, but because they were instructed to give him this name. Speaking on behalf of Yahweh himself, the angel of the Lord told Joseph that the child conceived in Mary was from the Holy Spirit and was to be named Jesus, because he would “save his people from their sins.”

This name Jesus was not only a fine sounding name but also a revelation of Who He was and Who He is. Let us let the name Jesus resonate in our hearts today, and remember God’s faithfulness. Let us remember the True Gospel and that we don’t need temporary treasures and a trouble-free world, which will only fade away: we need Jesus – the real Jesus – as we are reminded in Matthew 6:19-21…

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Yes, dear friends, we are to be in the world but not of the world. Heaven will be our home and in His great love and mercy, God has invited us to live with Him there – forever. There, and only there, will we find no more tears or sorrow. There and only there will God wipe away every tear from our eyes. And for how long? John summarized the true Gospel this way…

God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have – everlasting life.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

Michael Dunaway3 Posts

Michael Dunaway is a pastor with the Northeast Kansas Lutheran Partnership.

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