When Christ illustrates God’s kingdom He describes some of those outside of it as “stony ground,” (Mk 4:16-17) people who eagerly embrace the gospel message and enjoy the community of the saints, but when called upon to actually live out their faith, especially in difficult times, they have no interest. It seems that a key factor in identifying the elect lies in their response to God in suffering.
Many today gladly receive a promise of forgiveness and a better life, but who counts it a privilege “not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake?” (Php 1:29)
As we do our diligence in making our calling and election sure (2Pe 1:10), we should carefully consider how trials are affecting us. And if we are not also choosing His ways and actively pursuing Him in the small things, should we expect to be faithful when it really gets hard? (Lk 16:10)
If we find our hearts to be shallow and stony let’s not despair, but seek new ones from God (Eze 36:26-7), not training ourselves in lives of ease but in enduring hardness as good soldiers of Christ. (2Ti 2:3) Let’s not find ourselves among those who wither in trial, but triumphant in God as He displays His strength in us. (Ro 5:3-5)