Today’s me-centered culture has created a comfortable brand of Christianity that is becoming a hindrance for so many believers in the race of faith. This kind of faith is producing greenhouse Christians—believers who are daily nourished inside the walls of the church building, only to wilt under the heat of tests, trials, and persecution once they leave their protective environments.

The New Testament epistle James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3). How is spiritual endurance cultivated? Through the testing of our faith! In order to truly flourish, we must face, rather than avoid, the spiritual challenges that come before us. Instead of allowing trials to turn us away from the Lord, trials can teach us to run to Him.

In a world where we would much rather hear a soft, affirming message than a sermon on suffering or sacrifice, the Word of God challenges us to respond to tests and trials with joy. This kind of joy is not some sort of mask we wear, but a resilient hope we choose to find in Christ no matter the situation. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, choosing to focus on Him rather than our circumstances, we will find that He is strengthening us to face every spiritual battle.

The Bible says that when you are rooted in Christ, it doesn’t matter where you are planted. Like Joseph, you may be planted in Pharaoh’s prison, but you can rise and become the prime minister of Egypt. Like Daniel, you may be planted in the lion’s den, but you can rise and become the advisor to the king of Persia. And like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you may be planted in the fiery furnace, but you can rise and witness to kings because God is with you.

How do you respond to circumstances that test your faith? Do you immediately give up, or do you fix your eyes on Jesus? Don’t let trials turn you away from faith in God. Don’t let the tests make your heart grow cold. Call upon the Lord for help, and rely on His strength. Remember the reward that awaits you in Christ Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that no matter where I am planted, I can flourish because of Your power working in me. When the next trial comes, help me to respond with utter joy, knowing that You will use the situation to shape and strengthen me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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