The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
How do you know if what you are facing is a testing from God, a trial or a spiritual battle and not just a result of you being stupid? For example, if your car breaks down on the road, is it a trial or is it just that you didn’t take it to the mechanic when you needed to? Or if you feel drained of energy and lethargic, is that a spiritual battle or is it just that you need to include more protein in your diet?
This is a really sharp question. But, I think it may be based on a false premise that something has to be either practical or spiritual but can’t be both. I think there are spiritual battles and trials in everyday occurrences. I can’t speak for anyone else, but me being stupid is one of my biggest spiritual struggles.
Take the example of the car breaking down. When I was in college, my car overheated really badly. Instead of pulling over and calling for a tow, which I should have done, I just went ahead and kept driving to campus. When I finally parked, smoke was pouring out from under the hood. Instead of leaving it, which I should have done, I popped the hood, at which point antifreeze exploded all over my arms giving me second degree chemical burns.
So that was a result of my own stupidity, but there was also a trial. I had to handle the situation on my own, there was no one else around. I got it all taken care of: the car, my arms, getting to the hospital, making the phone calls that needed to be made. You have to remember that trials aren’t about proving something to God, God already knows what you can do. Trials prove something to you about yourself. That trial proved to me that I could handle overwhelming situations and that has stuck with me as I have gone on in life. I also learned the importance of preventative car maintenance.
The same principle applies to spiritual battles. Say you struggle with depression: eating right and getting moderate exercise are two of the best things you can do for yourself. It may need to be combined with other things, but it can really make a difference how you feel. The spiritual battle is whether take the steps to feel better, or let your depression convince you that it is hopeless and you aren’t worth the effort anyway. So the spiritual victory goes hand in hand with practical steps.
There are spiritual elements to mundane activities, and there are totally practical aspects to dealing with spiritual matters. I think that is part of what it means that Jesus is Lord of all. Not just our spirits and esoteric areas, but also the daily and practical aspects as well.