3 Key Steps to Getting Through Life’s Trials
Anne Askew (1521-1546) was born into a wealthy family and could have lived an easy life. Instead the authorities tortured her, tried her, and burned her at the stake. She was only 25.
Her crime was converting from Catholicism to Protestantism under Henry VIII. Ironically, Henry also converted to Protestantism, but not for religious convictions. He converted to get out of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
Anne was outspoken about her protestant beliefs. She argued against transubstantiation. The Catholic church believed that the bread and wine turned into the real body and blood of Christ. Anne argued that communion was a sacrament of remembrance. The bread and wine remained bread and wine. This issue lead to her death sentence.
Anne believed that she could read Scripture for herself and learn from it. Her viewpoint was not well-received by her male interrogators. She also refused to confess to a priest, stating she would instead confess to God without help.
Even to the end of her life, Anne continued to defend her convictions. She was obedient to the teachings of Jesus Christ in a hostile environment.
I, on the other hand, have a hard time being obedient in the middle of a easy life. I am not in danger of persecution for my faith. My sin comes when I find it hard to be uncomfortable or inconvenienced.
Jesus addressed people like me in Luke 6. He confronts them with this convicting question,
He illustrates his question with the story of the wise and foolish men. Do you remember the song too? I have been singing about these men since was a little child, with hand-motions and all.
The one man builds his house on the rock and the other man builds his house on the sand. The storms come and the floods rise and the house on the sand collapses. The house with a firm foundation stands strong .
Christ's message is clear:
You say you follow me (call me Lord), but tough times destroy you and blow you away (do not do what I say.)
He is asking for more than a confession of words, he is asking for action. Build yourself strong in obedience to him.
Luke 6:47 should be one we all have memorized. Instead we skim over it as an introduction to the parable Jesus tells. But take notice, because here Jesus gives us a three-part guide to obedience.
Steps to obedience:
1. Come to me
An obedient follower of Christ is in constant contact with God. She is praying, seeking his guidance and thinking about what he says.
2. Hear my words
An obedient follower of Christ hears God’s words and puts herself in contact with what the Bible says.
3. Put them into practice
An obedient follower of Christ applies the Scriptures to her life. Hearing alone doesn’t get the result we want. The hearing must come with understanding and then action
This 3-step process is the key to getting through life’s trials. The trials are coming. Hardships and struggles are part of everyone's lives because we live in a fallen and evil world. How we handle those struggles depends on our foundation, which we build in Christ, in obedience to him.
How can I incorporate these into my life?
1. Come to me:
Make time to spend with God every day. It must be a priority and something else in your life might need to go to make room for it. The sacrifice is worth it.
2. Hear what I say:
READ the Bible. This is essential. Reading devotions, blogs like mine, and listening to sermons are all great. But, don't let them replace reading straight from the scripture. Anne Askew was willing to die for that right. The sacrifice is worth it.
3. Put them into practice:
Figure out what it means. Then make changes in your life. The Bible is living and active and will change you from the inside out if you will let it. The sacrifice is worth it.
Do you squirm at the word obedience? Does your heart long to be free from restrictions? Trying to be free from one set of rules will make you a slave to another set of rules. Do you want to be obedient to God or enslaved to sin?
For more on applying the Bible to your life check out this blog post.
This bookmark has a series of my favorite application questions on it. The free printable bookmark PDF is in my resource library.