And this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. (2 Corinthians 8:5 ESV)
Wow! I love God pointing me to this verse. The Macedonian churches did something out of character for most individuals- it was not even expected by Paul. Paul is a giant when it comes to transformation and testimony he lived. So…interesting to me even back then perceptions steered waited responses.
Paul states out of the most severe trial, Macedonians overflowed with joy and extreme poverty surfaced rich generosity- not expected. They were only able to manifest actions from deep within, due to giving themselves first to the Lord. We live in a world where trials hit surface levels and the devil digs deep into our skin. Are we individuals he can grip or must he let go quickly? The answer lies deep within as we respond to trials.
Instead of reacting quickly, what’s expected- take time to seek Jesus. Giving ourselves, same as surrendering, releases that terrible angst feeling. In the midst, God is able to bring a plan to our minds and comfort us from taking on offenses or bitter feelings. Keeping a heart pure is upmost important to God. Purifying hearts takes place in stages. For me, long ago I became convicted of gossiping. I never really had a problem in this area, until hanging around one of my friends. Removing gossiping was like peeling away a beginning layer of an onion. Learning to have a softened heart, while dealing with difficult people- peeled back many layers through character building trials. I would have classified a few severe, however, not looking back. All is relative to purifying hearts.
What kind of trials have you faced? Having on the full armor of God, trains us to be ready for every trial. Grace was given to the Macedonians. Grace will be given to each of us, as we surrender. Isn’t it exciting when God gives us a plan that goes beyond anyone’s expected notion of what can be accomplished. It’s exciting, because all glory goes to God- He is awesome!