Every Crisis is a Call for a Fresh Commitment

Every Crisis is a Call for a Fresh Commitment

Study Guide, February 20, 2022

Pastor Clay Olsen


There is an old Russian saying about Christians: ‘Christians are like a nail…the harder you hit it, the deeper into the wood it goes.’ That was a reference, of course, to the way that they observed how Christians responded to hardship and persecution and crises…they went deeper into their relationship with the Lord and their commitment to Christ. What a powerful testimony and teaching!

And really, there are many things in life beyond our control. But the thing is, those things beyond our control can start controlling our lives. They shouldn’t, but they often seem to have that effect. And thus, many people live their lives being controlled by things that are beyond their control. That’s what the Brits call ‘A sticky wicket’…or what Laurel and Hardy called ‘A fine kettle of fish’…remember those guys?

But one of the great provisions of God for His people is the power to live proactively rather than reactively. Christians have the power from God’s Spirit to live not under the control of the conflicts around us but to live by our commitments to the Lord above us…and not only above us, but even within us, through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

And even though we are not exempt from the trials of this world, and although we are not insulated from the crises of this world, we are empowered to turn trials into triumphs and to make every crisis a call to make a fresh commitment to Christ. We can’t determine the degree of the difficulties we may face, but we can always determine the direction our faith will take…and that direction is deeper into our relationship with Christ and higher in our devotion to Christ.

The history of God’s work in the lives of His people is filled with turning loses into gains and turning trials into triumphs. And we as God’s people, can know that He will do the same in our own lives as we commit more of ourselves to His will and to His work. Let’s explore.

Remember, Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Joseph could have become bitter and self-serving. But instead, he became even more committed to honoring God in his beliefs and his morals and more committed to serving others for the sake of His Lord. And as a result, he was granted a position of power in the land of Egypt second only to Pharoah himself, which put him in a position to rescue his own family and further the redemptive plan of God. But that didn’t happen overnight, remember…no, it was over thirteen years between his slavery to his sovereignty. But Joseph used that time to make fresh commitments to honoring and serving God…and he left the timing of the results in God’s hands.

That was one of the themes of King David’s life: Ps 31:15 – “My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.” NASU That would be a great theme for us all to live by… ‘My times are in Your hand, O Lord.’ Do you have trouble leaving the times for things in God’s hands? Yeah, that’s a tough one. Remember, David was anointed as King by the Prophet Samuel. And then he was crowned as King right away and he then lived a peaceful and carefree life ever after…right? Wrong! No, what came soon after his anointing as King was his battle with Goliath. That was bad, right? No, that was good, compared to his battles with Saul. David had to live his life on the run from Saul who was constantly threatening his life. He went from hiding in the desert and being forced to out of his own country to even having to fight other people’s battles for them. It was about 15 years between the time he was anointed as King to being crowned as King. Those had to be awfully frustrating and trying times.

You can imagine the Prophet Samuel saying, “David, I have some good news and some bad news for you.” The good news is that you’re going to be the new King of Israel. The bad news is that as soon as the old King finds out about it, he’s going to chase you all over the country trying to kill you! Now, have a cookie and some falafels.”

But, again, the point is, although we can’t determine the times or the difficulties of the times that we are going through, we can determine the direction that we are going to go through them. We can determine or pre-determine that whatever the crisis is that we might have to face that we are going to use the crisis to be a call for us to make a fresh commitment to Christ to go deeper in our relationship with Christ and higher in our devotion to Christ. And when you do make that commitment, then come what may…whatever test it is, it will result in a testimony for the glory of God and in the blessing of others and in gain or gains for you. The world, the flesh, and the devil may intend evil for you, but the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will turn it into good…in His times…for you. Trust God in the bad tests of your life, and God will turn the bad tests into good testimonies for you. Every great test can become a great testimony for you and others around you, if you determine to make any crisis be a call for you to make a fresh commitment to Christ.

All right, sounds good. But what’s the plan? What’s the process to put this into action? Well, just like our gracious and merciful God, He has laid it out for us in Rom 5:1-5 – “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” NASU

Every person’s faith walk with Christ begins with being ‘justified by faith’. We are declared righteous by God because Christ grants His righteousness to us, along with His pardon of us. Justification is the legal pardon of our sin penalty because of Christ’s substitutionary atonement, or His dying in our place to remove that sin penalty that was upon us. And now being ‘declared righteous…declared right with God’, we now and forever have ‘peace with God’. And when you have peace with God you then have peace from God, along with the peace of God. And friends, this is the ‘peace’ that then takes precedent and priority over every other kind of problem in the world. Actually, this ‘peace with God and peace of God’ is what then gives us the power to deal with the problems that this world throws at us. It is the peace of knowing that we now stand in the position of being God’s own son or daughter and nothing will ever change that!

Remember how later on in Romans the Apostle goes on a celebration of the love of Christ for us and how nothing can ever take His love away from us? Rom 8:33-39- “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NLT

This is why we’ve been making such a big deal lately about our ‘Position in Christ’, because it is the biggest deal in our life! Everything that we think about, or need to face, or have to do, is now to come out of our ‘position’ in Christ. There’s something about you that neither this world, nor the flesh, nor the devil can ever touch or change…that is your position as a forever child of God and your security as a forever beloved son or daughter of God’s.

Sometimes when Christians read that passage in Romans they think: “But what if I do something to separate myself from the love of Christ?” Nope, the Apostle said that can’t happen either! So do not worry about that! I love how in the NASB puts it: “…nor any other created thing can separate us from the love of Christ.” Guess what? You are ‘a created thing’, and I am ‘a created thing’…and ‘no created thing’ can separate us from the love of Christ! Why? Because our Creator and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, has already justified and sanctified and has even already glorified us when He forgave us the penalty of our sin and birthed us into His forever family!

In fact, God makes a point to point that out that very thing to us in Romans 8:30, which is often overlooked, but is one of the strongest statements about our eternal security in the Scriptures. Notice: Rom 8:30- “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” NKJV This verse has been called ‘The unbreakable golden chain’! What a great picture of all the parts of our salvation…an ‘unbreakable golden chain’. Note carefully, that when we turn from sin and self and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Apostle Paul says that we are ‘Justified’, as he pointed out in Rom. 5:1. Okay, we see that. But now he reveals that something else that we also need to see. He reveals that in connection with our being ‘justified that we are also ‘glorified’! And the wonder and joy of it all is that Paul says this has already been completed… “…and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” And ‘glorified’ has to do with our already being ‘seated in the heavenly places with Christ’. That was the study that we recently examined. This is Paul’s message of assurance for us. He wants us to understand that you cannot separate ‘justification’ from ‘glorification’ in the life of one who has been ‘Born Again’! And that is why God speaks of them both here as being ‘past tense’…already finished! Mark it down and then find rest for your soul in this: When God saved you from your past, He also saved you in your present and saved you in your future. Christ’s salvation enclosed your life and encircled your entire life from your New Birth to the New Earth.

When God saves you, He also saves a place for you in Heaven at the same time. Again, when God speaks about saving us, He also speaks about already seeing us in Heaven with Him…already justified and already glorified. That’s eternal security! And that’s one reason that Paul goes on in Romans 8 to further explain that nothing can separate us from ‘the love of Christ’. And ‘the love of Christ’ is another way of saying ‘our relationship with Christ’. And why can’t anything now separate us? Because you cannot separate ‘justification’ from ‘glorification’. When Christ looks at your present life on Earth, He also sees your future life in Heaven with Him at the same time.

You are already ‘glorified’ in your ‘position’ both in Christ and in Heaven, therefore now live out whatever time you have left on this earth from your glorified position in Heaven and from your eternal relationship with Christ!

By the way, how great is it to know that there is a part of you; your soul and your eternal relationship with Christ, that nothing or no one in this world can touch. Your saved soul and your secure relationship with Christ are beyond the reach of anything or anyone in this world. Remember, in a wondrous and remarkable way, you have already been raised up and seated in the Heavenlies with Christ! So, you can say to the troubles of this world, as well as the troublemakers of this world – “Hey, you can’t touch me…you can’t touch the real me! You can’t touch my soul or my future in Heaven! You can’t touch this!” Now, you might not want to make that a habit of saying that with just everybody…it kind of needs some explanation. But in the right time, and right place…there you go! Plus, as long as you know this truth about your life it will help you better deal with anything in life that comes your way…such as the inevitable crises in our lives.

However, when crises do come, now you can even make the crises, make the problems produce something of lasting value for God’s sake, and for the blessings of others around you, and for the gains for your own life and future. And you do that by making the crisis become a call for a fresh commitment to go deeper in your relationship with Christ and higher in your devotion to Christ. And we’ll walk further through those steps in Romans 5 of doing all of this in our next study.