We shall be thankful for our hard times. For it is in the fire of the daily grind of life in which our characters and our mettle are formed. If we are to have fortitude, it will come through fire. If we are to have strength, it will come through the tearing of our muscles. If we are to have substance, backbone, a constitution, it will be through refining and fire, getting rid of the excess, which is painful.
Trials can destroy us. But they can also strengthen us. When they strengthen us, this happens through living life side by side with other men who are heading in the same direction, through the front lines of daily life, through the battle, fighting together to be good men in the face of evil. Our victory was purchased for us through Christ who went before us in this battle, who endured the struggle and the fire and came out victorious.
In this fire we need one another. We need to be sharpened by one another. We need to be encouraged by one another. We need to be challenged by one another. When we flee to an island of comfort, it won’t be long before we soften, being surrounded by the comforts of modern life. We will begin to compromise, first in little ways, and then in big ones. We will eventually become a different person altogether. We will forget the man we once aspired to be and adopt the world’s value systems and mentalities. But Christian men were saved to be kings. To rule the world for Christ, the King of kings. He purchased us out of the world’s values and idolatry. He purchases us to make us noblemen.
So when you are faced with difficulty, be thankful. Remember your identity in Christ, your Victorious King. Then be near fellow kinsmen, your Christian brothers, who can help strengthen you until you are through the fire. As a practical application, set up your life in the easy times to have the structures in place to strengthen you when the hard times come.
- Be committed to an uncompromising, biblical local church full of godly men who encourage you and support you, and who you can encourage and support.
- Set up regular times of fellowship with these men and their families.
- Be hospitable and build relationships with your church family.
- Start (and finish) lofty projects with your brothers in Christ. Build together. Believe together. Aspire together.
112 Praise[a] the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
Who delights greatly in His commandments.
2 His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches will be in his house,
And his righteousness [b]endures forever.
4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
5 A good man deals graciously and lends;
He will guide his affairs with discretion.
6 Surely he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 His heart is established;
He will not be afraid,
Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
9 He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
His [c]horn will be exalted with honor.
10 The wicked will see it and be grieved;
He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
The desire of the wicked shall perish.”