The result of a life in relationship with God is a life with a heart growing in focus on God. When your heart is focused on God, God reciprocates and focuses his heart on you. The result is his love, grace and Spirit flow into you heart. Your heart is purified. Your character is refined. You are empowered. And all of it happens from the inside out.
But God continues to test and challenge us. The point of his work in our lives is to refine our focus, to convince us of our need for him in relationship, and to build in us a heart for him.
Many people tend to think of challenges as adverse circumstances. And they can be. But positive or good things can be as well.
If we are in the midst of good things and god times, we can have elevated and incorrect thoughts about ourselves. We can say to ourselves, "I'm doing all right. I am being rewarded for all my work." And the result is -- your heart-focus is on you, your position, your work, and your heart-focus is not on God.
Success or fame can break your relationship with God. It can sever the connection between your heart and God's heart, stopping the work going on.
Failure, bad things and bad times can equally test our connection and heart-focus. In this case, we say "I'm a failure. A jerk. I'm not work anything." We doubt God's love. We doubt God's intentions. We focus on ourselves.
Failure or guilt can break your relationship with God. It can sever the connection between your heart and God's heart, stopping the work going on.
At the center of our lives as followers of Jesus is a relationship with God, and maintaining our heart-focus on him. All of life's circumstances are opportunities to enhance our heart-focus or to damage our heart-focus. Each circumstance has a different effect, and therefore, a different lesson on how to maintain our relationship and heart-focus with God.