“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
I am jacked up to share this God Gold with you today!! I’m guessing most of you have seen this movie, The Sandlot, but if you haven’t, go watch it! You can thank me later! Growing up as a ball player in a family of ball players, I couldn’t tell you how many times we watched this movie. It is so stinkin wild how God brings up some of the most random and awesome stuff to relate His powerful Word to. I’ve always been a visual learner so this was a huge help to me and I pray that it can be the same for you! Buckle up and get ready!!! This ride may get wild!!!
So we looked at Romans 5:1-2 the last couple of days and saw some awesome truth about our relationship with the Lord. Now we know our identity is in Christ, nothing can change that. Now we know that because of what Christ has done for us we can stand before God as clean and righteous, Instead of seeing God as this judgement and wrath bringing God, we learned how God see’s us through Christ is totally different from the lies we’ve believed. God says we are loved, accepted, worthy, and forgiven, He is an unchanging God and constantly faithful in His love towards us.
With our new life and identity in Christ, everything from our old life is completely reversed. With our eyes on Christ, you see the main thing that begins to be reversed and created anew within us is our thinking, or you can say our perspective. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
I was looking at this verse in Romans 5 and I saw the word “rejoice” before the words, “trials and problems.” Usually we hear trials and problems with rejoice being the last word we think of. Here is that reversal God puts on your perspective. The world view and our view says to run away from all that “bad” stuff because it might hurt you and we can’t have that. Before this scene of the movie, Smalls, the kid looking super nervous not having a clue how to catch the ball or throw it. He had showed up in left field another day before that, the other kids were playing and hit him a pop fly. With this little toy glove he was using because it was all he had, the ball came his way, he tripped and fell, missed the ball, broke his glove and was laughed right off the field by all the other kids.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve failed in a similar fashion to how Smalls failed trying to catch this fly ball. I showed up to fight my trials and dropped the missed catching the ball so bad that I looked so stupid before others, myself, and God. Because of how awful that failure was I choose to just stay away, in my comfort zone, as far away as possible from a baseball field or the chance to fail because I can’t go through that again. I can’t fail God like that again. When we do this we are making the Devil extremely happy because even he knows the truth that despite our disastrous failure and how stupid we looked, God’s view of us is still the same; loved, accepted, worthy, forgiven. So often in those moments we base our how God sees us, and our relationship with Him by our circumstances or our failure. The thing is God is an unchanging God, He loved you yesterday and still loves you today even in your failure. Remember your failures have been washed away by the blood of Christ on the cross, just because you failed again doesn’t change what He did. You’re still forgiven and you are still loved.
You see God “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,” because this world says to run from trials and problems, give up and don’t ever try again. People close to us at times even tell us to give up, stop showing up to the field because you obviously will never catch a fly ball. Usually people who speak that kind of low living negative talk into your life is are people who have already given up and have made a home in their comfort zone. The devil is happy when you believe those lies because he knows that if you believe God’s truth, everything is changed.
The truth says, you are in Christ and Christ is in you, you no longer have to show up to the field with you little baby glove to fight through your trials and problems. Walking in the truth of how God sees you, as loved, accepted and forgiven, your identity in Christ, you have a connection with God as His child, the powerful Creator of the universe. These trials and problems you face are the same as the pop fly you tried to catch yesterday but now you’ve been equipped with a new glove, God has began renewing your thinking, with your God goggles on you begin seeing life through His eyes. God reverses your perspective to show you that no longer do you have to run away, complain, or walk around defeated like a dog with his tail between his legs. God says, show up, walk onto the baseball field again and again. He shows you when you lean into Him and His power, these trials and problems don’t look nearly as horrifying as they did yesterday. He gives you what it takes to face your trials, endure faithfully and He is doing a much bigger work through you than your current circumstances look like. With your perspective in Christ, everything changes, you show up to the field again, reach your glove up with a little more confidence, and whether you drop it or not, whether the world around you is screaming “GIVE UP” or laughing at you, none of that matters because this renewing taking place in your perspective is showing you the bigger picture. Instead of just seeing bad bad bad, pain pain pain, the Lord renews your perspective to let you see that He is making you stronger with each time you show up, through each failure He is taking apart piece by piece that old life of complaining and fear to show you His will for your life. He is creating you anew and preparing you for something much greater than your current situation. He is producing new things in you, with each failure and struggle He is strengthening you in each area of your life. God is taking you through the storm to create a new, stronger, better version of you that is battle tested and more prepared to live in the plan and purpose He has for your life.
It’s so cool how everything we thought we knew, God reverses it all. Now we can rejoice when trials and problems come!! We can get excited to show up to the field and just play ball with the boys! The moment you catch the ball and experience God in a whole new light is worth all the times you showed up and failed in your trials. Being the new person God is transforming you to be is worth whatever storm you have to go through and being that new and transformed person with God is so much better than being the person who ran back home, lived in their comfort zone afraid to fail. The world may say give up and laugh at you for trying, but “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” All the goodness you see in your trial through God’s eyes may not be what they see but keep rejoicing and keep showing up, lifting that arm in the air. God will take care of it. When you catch the ball, all the laughing and lies come to a halt! Maybe even somebody’s perspective is changed to see God and what He can do, maybe they begin to step out of their comfort zones and into the MORE God has for them. Catch that ball and throw it back to the infield baby!!! Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez is about to send another fly ball your way! Keep the trials coming!!! God is making us into the best ball players around!!!!