Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Way Trials Transform Us

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1:2-4

The Way Trials Transform Us 
Faith.  It is the essence of a Christian’s existence.  By faith we are saved… that is just the beginning.  Faith is the way we come to know God and the way we develop our spiritual strength and knowledge of God.  The way we began is the way we continue.  However, faith is not always easy.  A faith test is when our concept of God and the reality of our lives conflict and we can’t understand why something is happening.  

Faith is like a muscle and when it’s stretched and it’s pulled then it develops. Your faith develops as it is tested.  You don’t develop your faith just attending church once or twice a week, even throwing in a Bible study.  God builds our faith by testing it.  If we had really had our way, our faith would never be tested…but God would never have the chance to prove that faith worked.  Our declarations of faith would ring hollow. We would simply be echoing empty religious clich├ęs learned in church and Sunday School.  No skeptic is ever convinced or won over by that kind of false faith.  

Your faith is not the only muscle that is strengthened by testing. The real purpose of testing is really all about our hearts. Sometimes we view trials as a game where God is moving the chess pieces of our lives and we have to trust Him and in the end He will do something great in our lives. This is true, however it isn't about God getting us to some great prize at the end of the course. The reward we will have when we yield to Him and allow Him to work in our hearts is the greatest reward we could ever have. God uses our times of testing to transform our hearts and bring us closer to Him with a deeper understanding of who He really is. 

The testing of your faith is more about who God is than who we are.  God’s desire is that we know Him and experience His goodness in our lives.  The positive end of a test of faith may not be a change in circumstance but a greater knowledge of God and His love and power in our lives.  That is when faith gets hard.  It’s easy to understand that God may not answer every prayer by giving us everything we ask for. That, we can wrap our minds around, but it is hard to realize that sometimes God’s will is that everything stays the same for a while.  Maybe nothing changes.  That’s not the answer we want to get when we are in a difficult or painful situation.  Faith becomes a fragile Paper Mache shell when everything inside is withering away as we seek relief from a painful situation.  In those times, faith is stretched thin, but it is there.  

If you are waiting… if you are wilting and waiting… I challenge you to drink the living water.  It is hard and exhausting, but there is a reason.  If we simply exist in our suffering, we will miss the point.  What a fruitless effort to just suffer through and completely miss what the Lord is doing because we are so focused inward.  There is something working, something is happening.  It is never His purpose for us to understand His ways, just to understand Him.  Hold fast, trust in the Lord as He is developing and strengthening your faith. 

And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.  Psalm 39:7

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