INGREDIENTS FOR SCRIPTURAL PROBLEM SOLVING
Scripture tells us there is nothing new, we all face the same kinds of problems and God is faithful to those who are called according to His purpose(s). Concerning old tactics by the enemy and old habits/snares we fall into - Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." However, Paul acknowledges this and encourages us all in the same breath as he writes the believers in Corinth - "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13) And Paul's encouragement does not stop at just a "way out", the Holy Spirit, through Paul states "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
I understand that some seasons in life make us feel "hard pressed on every side", "perplexed", "persecuted" and/or "struck down". But God promises through Paul that we are "not crushed", "not in despair", "not abandoned" and "not destroyed". (2 Cor. 4:8-9) When Christ visited the first time, He did not offer a bed-of-roses lifestyle for those who accept Him as Master of their lives. No, quite the opposite - He guaranteed hardship even to the point of dying for our association with Him. One of these promises is found in John 16:33 - "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
In Christ's overcoming the world, He provided for us some vital actions for us to have peace while problem solving life's issues. He attacked and changed well established mindsets. He cautioned against giving into worry. And He taught a huge lesson on focus when He walked on stormy waves and called Peter out to Himself. When Jesus was not directly telling or showing people how to tackle problems, He was telling them a relevant parable.
The idea of much of Jesus' ministry being the changing of established mindsets is not a hard one to accept. Many times, the reader of Scripture, particularly Matthew 5, finds Christ saying the phrase "You have heard that it was said...".
- Matthew 5:21 = Murder
- Matthew 5:27 = Adultery
- Matthew 5:33 = Oaths
- Matthew 5:38 = Eye for an Eye
- Matthew 5:43 = Love for Enemies
- Crippled man at the Pool, needed a change of mindset as to where his healing comes from.
- After the Upper Room visitation of the Holy Spirit, the mindset of where God dwells changed (from stone temple to bodily temple).
One of my big worries in life is what to say to someone who asks about my faith or persecutes me about my faith. As Jesus sent out The Twelve Disciples to go evangelize, He gave them instructions, warnings and encouragement. These words still ring down through the ages to Christ-followers today. One of the issues Christians will face is persecution of our own faith from leaders in our society. Christ says do not worry I will place the words in your heart and mind to speak. Matthew 10:18-20 says it like this – “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
The Magnitude of the Problem is no match for Jesus and His Answer either. However far-fetched it may sound or seem, we need to trust Jesus. Jesus fed 5,000+ with 5 loaves of bread and two fishes in Matthew 14:13-21 and then 4,000+ in Matthew 15:29-39 with 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish. Just think, Believers in Christ have God as their Friend. And there is nothing impossible for God, He is God. It all boils down to our trust in Him and His plan for our lives, however many of the pieces of our puzzle we have at the time.
These are Ingredients for Scriptural Problem Solving -
- realize - no testing has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13)
- change your mindset about your issue - first seek God's advice through prayer and His Word, then move;
- do not allow worry to enter the picture;
- trust in God no matter the magnitude of the issue;
- live your life through the lens of your faith in Christ;