Reaching Goals!

Acts 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

3 Christian viewpoints

In my experience, Christians have three ways of looking at problems or troubles in their lives.

The first: There are some people who have the idea that people who are really in faith should have no problems. In their view, only people who are in sin have problems. If you are having problems, it’s proof that there must be sin in your life. This idea comes from those who preach against sin, who believe that sin is the big barrier between man and God. Part of their justification and proof comes from what Jesus said to the man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:14) and to the woman caught in adultery (John 8:11). “Sin no more.” It isn’t that sin is something we should pretend doesn’t matter, but sin is a symptom of the world we live in and the old nature we are redeemed from.

This first idea also ignores the reality of the war we are engaged in. 

Paul used the analogy of our being at war on several occasions, as he described the Christian life. We face a very real enemy, with a very real desire to rule over mankind. Jesus said that he is “not mindful of the things of God, but of the things of men.” He wants to trap man in his snare, keeping them engaged in this world’s system. To do that, he must bring battle – if you will – against us. In other words, he presents problems small and large.

The second idea: There are people who believe that real Christians should always be “suffering for Jesus.” Many of these people have experienced very real persecution. Often, they are believers who live in countries in which Christianity is under siege in a physical way. The text we opened with even appears to make this same point. In 2 Corinthians 1:5-7 Paul suggests this again. Verse 7 says, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.”

This second idea ignores a multiplicity of promises that tell us there is victory in Jesus. As he was preparing to leave this world, he told his disciples that he had “overcome the world.” (John 16:33) In 1 John 4:4, we are told we are of God and have overcome, “because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” In the next chapter, vv. 4-5, we are told that it is faith that overcomes the world, faith first in Jesus as the Son of God.

Thus, we come to position number three. This is the idea that we face tests and trials because of the world we live in, and because of the stand we take, and yes, sometimes even because we sin. But primarily, because we stand for Jesus and thus, we are standing against the “god of this age”, the devil. Because of that stand, “tribulation, … distress, … persecution, … famine, … nakedness, … peril, (and) sword” will come against us. Psalms 44:22, as quoted in Romans 8:36 says, “For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” If we stopped there, idea two would be confirmed. But we cannot stop there, because God didn’t stop there. Verse 37, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

What we can say for sure is, in this life, no goal is reached without struggle. The Bible calls the struggle trials or tribulations.

Definition of tribulation: distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution; b) a trying experience

Definition of trials: a test of faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation 

I refer to Acts 14:22. That verse says, “we enter with tribulations.” It does NOT say, we enter IN tribulations. Peter put it this way, in 1 Peter 1; after telling us we have been begotten, or born, to a living hope, an inheritance that is incorruptible and kept by the power of God through faith, he went on in the next two verses:

6. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 

One thing we must recognize is, in order for testing to be valid, there must be a completion and a grade. We are not simply tested, and tested, and tested, and tested, until one day we die, and finally stand before Jesus for our grade. No, God took up most of Ephesians 1 telling us that right now, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. That we were adopted as sons “according to the good pleasure of His will” and made “accepted in the Beloved”, now. Twice, he relates that it is “according to the good pleasure of His will.” We are seated, now. We are accepted, now. We are more than conquerors, now.

Yes, in this life, nothing is accomplished without struggle, but that struggle is NOT ordained by God, it is a result of the world we live in, that is populated by people who have their own agendas, who are influenced by an enemy who is in clear opposition to God, and therefore to us.

I encourage you to look not to the tribulation in the world, but to the one who has “overcome the world.” To believe that he has made you accepted, seated you with Him in heavenly places, and that “as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17b)

Is Jesus sick? Is Jesus poor? Is Jesus defeated? I believe you know the answer to those questions. If you do, you also know the answer to these: Are you sick? Are you poor? Are you defeated? If Jesus is not, then you are NOT. You may not have seen the fruit of that, yet, but remember, faith is the “evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1b) Let the word show you your victories, see them in your heart, and you will soon see them in your everyday life!

For more on God’s Heart for You, check out the links below:

All Things!

The Process of Faith

You can also get a copy of my book on the liberty we have in Christ (not nutrition as the title may suggest) on Amazon: Eat Healthy…Most of the Time!

Thank you for checking out this post. If you’ve been enjoying my work, I am glad and thankful. If you are blessed by what you read, please contact me at Transformation Church, and share how you’ve been touched. Email: