Abundant Life Episode 33
In this episode Saso and Ben discuss the topic of trials. How do you respond to trials?
Trials – A test of faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation broadly : a source of vexation or annoyance. – Websters 1828
Sometimes call these sanctification tests, but God allows these into our life for a reason and purpose. Have you ever had your water heater break and counted in all joy? How about a besetting sin in your life? Man, what a joy to be tempted!
Trials are meant to test and stretch us or grow us as Christians. An athlete that wishes to become the best spends hours in the gym lifting weights, eating right, working out, in order to strengthen his/her body. It takes a lot of discipline, which is why many of us are a little soggy around the midsection!
Essential Virtues, Mark of the Christ-Centered Life – The Christian, however, who faithfully seeks to develop these essential virtues (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love), will see every circumstance of life as a “fitness station” upon which the Trainer has arranged another repetition of the necessary surrender, dependence and obedience required to develop and manifest that virtue. – Jim Berg
When we go through trials we are being given opportunity to grow in our walk with God. The reality is that if everything were perfect, we’d likely never take the opportunity to seek God.
Why do we go through trials?
1 Peter 5:10
I think of Abraham who was tested and tried, and I cannot imagine how he was strengthen and changed by seeing God work through that trial. We often miss out on the perfect, stablish, and settle part as we fail the initial part of the test. I often cannot see beyond the trial and see only what is in front of me. I am short sighted in many of these cases.
In retrospect you can apply this to life. Just like this verse as well as our key verse in James, this testing is done so that we can build our endurance which results in hope according to Romans and contentment according to James. In short, trials are allowed in our lives to grow our dependence and faith in God.
1 Peter 1:6-7
It’s pretty clear that trials are not only to test the genuine of our faith but to change us into the image of Christ.
What are God’s promises with regard to trials?
1 Corinthians 10:13
Ecclesiastes tells us there is nothing new under the sun, and there is no temptation that our heavenly Father is not aware of. No new sin, no new circumstance, no nuance or no new red button person that has not been encountered. God promises not to give us a temptation that we will not be able to escape. Joseph was able to resist the pursuit of a married woman and Moses choose to suffer with the children of Israel rather than to indulge in the pleasures that Egypt had to offer.
In our last podcast we discussed the peace that only comes from our God. Dr. Berg discussed that we will always have all tribulation in this world as this verse states, but there is tribulation with God and tribulation with God. God has overcome the world, and we have hope and joy in this victory. Help is there for the asking.
Allow God to fight for you!
Typically when we are in a trial, it’s not our first instinct to look to God’s promises. The bible is pretty clear, we as people are really good forgetters. Just think of the Israelites in the desert, seeing amazing miracles, then when trials came, they forgot God, and would complain, even to the point of becoming idolaters.
We as people are no different. In fact if we are honest, many of us have such a weak prayer life, and we only pray when bad things happen.
The reality is that we must learn and teach ourselves to always have our gaze to God, he is sovereign and he cares.
This verse has a couple prerequisites, things work together for good…
- To those who are called, the elect, those saved, blood bought children of God
- To those who love God
The reality is that if we truly love God, it doesn’t matter what we go through, because we will find our true joy and peace in God, not in this temporal life.
Just as the verse you already mentioned out of Matthew, God, gives us comfort. In fact Jesus calls the the Holy Spirit the Comforter in the book of John KJV.
In the book of Romans, Paul gives us an amazing promise.
It’s like the Apostle Paul is saying, the amount of suffering you experience on this fallen planet, is not to even be compared with glory that awaits us when our Lord calls us home.
One of the most misquoted verses is
The Apostle Paul was not saying that Christ is going to help me score 40 points in a basketball game, although Jesus could do anything He wants. Paul was actually referring to God’s provision of strength and being content in any life circumstance.
How should we respond to trials and testing?
We have hope in the trial if we will seek it out as our Father gives us grace. We need to be patient in our trial and be constant in prayer.
I Peter 5:5
Asking for help is a sign of humility as you acknowledge you need something? God resists those who “are good”. He does give grace to those who ask for it and to those who are humble and ask for it.
We most certainly need the help and presence of God during trials and circumstances of life.
Often times we forget God and we begin to seek solutions for our pains in all the wrong places. We go to friends, family and even pastors before we seek God. The worst place you can go for answers is your emotional heart. Disney tells you to follow your heart which is terrible advice. Your heart is deceitful!
Sometimes things get tough, and we don’t feel like responding to trials in a godly manor. The Christian walk is not an easy walk, but we have to go back to the promises we’ve talked about and remember that we are on the winning team.
One thing that’s helpful is that we should expect trials. We should always be thankful when the waters are still, but we should also expect the storms to come.
1 Peter 4:12
The author of Hebrews knew that we would face difficulties and he is trying to tell us keep pressing, keep plugging away, one step forward, one foot in front of the other.
When God calls us home, our hope is that we can say what the Apostle Paul said…
2 Timothy 4:7-8
Choice’s matter and we show the Lord that we love Him based on the decisions we make. Decisions we make to obey Him or to obey our own will.
- You will go through trials and tribulations as the Bible tells us we will, but how will you handle the trials God allows in your life?
- Will you receive the crown of life or will you succumb to the temptation, trial that is before you?
- Will you seek God’s help or will you continue struggling with the trials and temptations that befall you?
- There is hope Christian if you will humble yourself before almighty God and take the help He offers.
- Jesus faced trials and the biggest one was the cross. What did He do?
May we succumb to the Father’s will and not our own will.