2 Corinthians 13:5 “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?”
Why is testing necessary in our lives? We face tests in school, work, and even in our families. Some people who have ‘test anxiety’, who wrestle with taking tests, have lost a lot of sleep over this phenomenon and it can be a major stressor.
When it comes to what’s really important, our sanctification, tests are critical in every facet of our lives.
Sanctification is the process of making or becoming holy, set apart, or to be consecrated unto the Lord.
This process of sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit of God leads, and we follow, the circumstances He leads us into and through are meant to lead to us into being set apart from this world, the resulting holiness is the effect of being obedient to His will. The purpose of this work is to be consecrated for the glory of God. We glorify God before unbelievers as a testament of His Truth, to believers to encourage them in their walk and unto God as a pleasing aroma.
The testing of God is critical in this process of sanctification.
James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Work Unto Perfection
If the subject is trials, then the reality isn’t whether you will go through them, but when you go through them.
As we go through trials, we should count them as a source of joy! Yes, embracing trouble which is initiated by God has an end result that brings hope. What is the end result? Well, the end result for one is patience. Now, the implication here is that patience also has a work, which we can recognize as a necessity for undergoing more trials!!!! What we gain through all this process of growth is, well, everything. We lack nothing if we allow God to take us to completion.
Matthew 6:31-34 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
*As we go through trials, the resounding message in God’s Word is…Fear Not!
Trials take many forms, whether it’s sickness, hunger, security, finances, or conflict, God allows these into our lives for a season. They challenge us to keep our eyes on Him and not on our circumstances. They reveal discrepancies in our character, maybe even in areas we thought we were strong in. They remove our trust in this world and they place it on Christ alone. Our pride is diminished in the midst of them and our bodies are at times relegated to nothing.
If you are a follower of Christ and have an area that needs to be made holy such as a weakness or deficiency, you can usually count on God taking you through a trial to strengthen that weakness
Trials can be God’s way of doing spiritual surgery. The sin in our lives is like a cancer, invading every area of our lives, the Lord wants to remove the elements of our weakness that lead to sin and lead us into perfect fellowship with Him.
Will you let Him remove all that hinders in your life? The process may be painful at the moment, bu the reward is great.
Deuteronomy 13:3 “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
God tests us to see where our hearts are really at. Think about it, do you think God doesn’t know where your heart is in regards to Him? Of course He does! We often lack understanding as to where these weaknesses are found, God often reveals these areas of weakness through the trial. We may think we are strong, but once the trial comes, we find out just how strong we really are.
The Lord also allows us to prove ourselves. If we fail the test, our advocate lovingly picks us up, brushes us off and surrounds us with His grace. As I reflect on the times I’ve failed in my life, tears come to my eyes remembering how much love the Lord showed me through my weaknesses. When I succeeded in a trial, He rejoices with me.
Isaiah 62:5 “For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.”
One day, the Lord will present you before the Father as a bridegroom with His bride, pure, spotless and with rejoicing.
You can’t fail….He won’t let you!! Once you are His, you are kept by His power until the day your salvation is complete.
1 Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
You are His! No one can take you from His hand. He has set His seal of the Holy Spirit upon your life.
Trust Him. Everything He takes you through, He does so because He loves you. Let Him have His perfect way in you, He will lead you on into His perfection. Keep your eyes fixed on Him. Immerse yourself into His presence and worship at His feet.
Our God is good. All His ways are good.
Suffering for Sin
There are trials that lead to a short period of suffering and then there is sin that leads to suffering.
Don’t allow your suffering to be a result of sin. Sin leads to more trouble than it is ever worth. It promises hope and leaves you with an empty bag. Sin offers comfort but only brings trouble.
1 Peter 3:13-17 “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
Suffering is not all bad. Every time we suffer, it isn’t a result of Satan’s attack, or a demon, or because of sin. When you suffer, pray that God gives you wisdom as to what He wants to do through the suffering or what He wants to show you.
*We all too often pray to get out of trials when we may be praying contrary to God’s will for our lives.
We might see times when God gives people over to their sin. There are also times He has uses demonic spirits to bring about trials (2 Corinthians 12:7). God will do whatever He needs to do to bring us unto perfection. We are not God therefore we will probably never fully understand His ways while in our fallen state.
Remember, your trial is not out of God’s control. There is no epic battle between good and evil, God has already won!
Now trust Him for His providence in your life and allow the perfect work of God be completed in you.