Tim Vreugdenhil: Resilient

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We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

“Although Jesus fell by our hands, He rose again by the hand of the Father. Because of Jesus, God makes firm the steps of everyone who delights in him. This belief made the early Christians astonishingly resilient people. Even Roman soldiers, highly praised for their level of fortitude, were surprised by the courage of ordinary Christians in all circumstances, even in facing death.

The apostle Paul spent the last part of his life reflecting on the meaning of the resurrection. This is what he said in a nutshell: believing in Christ makes you more resilient than anything else. Although the road can be long and hard, the outcome is certain. God will uphold you. “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

You do not learn this resilience from a comedy series. You do not learn it in a council report. You do not learn it from the mouths of prime ministers or presidents. You learn it in the gospel. Everybody can be touched by it. And when that happens, it can be the start of an amazing spiritual adventure. Though you may stumble many times, you will not fall. For He upholds you with His hand.”

Tim Vreugdenhil in Redeemer City to City blog “The Search for Resilience” dated 7 December 2020.

I agreed this past week to speak at a conference on 31 May and 1 June with the theme of Resilient. Then over Easter my pastor shared this quote with the congregation celebrating the fact that it is precisely the resurrection which makes us resilient.

Consider this idea for a moment and how it links to generosity.

Christians are people who can weather any storm because the resurrection reminds us that we can trust God and anything He has promised. We can give and share sacrificially because He has said He will look after us when we do. His dependability fuels our generosity.

Too many people, however, think generosity flows from their capacity.

That’s merely philanthropy. It’s not generosity. Any giving that flows from a human source is human giving. Giving that flows from the work of the Spirit in us is generosity. Big difference! The apostle Paul teaches us this, which is why he employed different words for giving than were used in the NT world. Generosity was not a term used by the masses.

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. Galatians 5:22-23

So, as we reflect on the implications of the resurrection, one implication is that we become more resilient people. I think it also makes us more generous people, because we remember anew and afresh that we can play our role because God can be trusted to play His. At all times and all occasions He supplies the resources for our generosity.

Pray for God’s blessing with me on another JOE (Journey of Empowerment) group that starts today. This one will serve God’s workers across India. We had a good start in Malaysia yesterday. Thanks for your support and prayers.