Are you being tested? (1)
"Every detail works to your advantage and to God's glory." 2 Corinthians 4:15 TM
When you were a child, do you remember being irritated whenever your favorite television program was interrupted for 30 seconds by a test of the Emergency Broadcast System?
Those emergency system tests are a lot like the trials that come into our lives. They're unscheduled, usually unwelcome interruptions, and they always seem to come at the worst possible time. But unlike the test patterns on television, life's trials don't last for 30 seconds and then disappear. No, they can last for days, weeks, even years. And the exact reason for them may never be completely clear to us. Trials can make us feel helpless, but we do have control over one vital element of a trial - how we respond to it. Understand this: trials are indispensable to our Spiritual growth. In fact, we cannot grow as we should without them, as much as we might wish we could. It's your test that leads to your testimony!
Paul writes, "Every detail works to your advantage and to God's glory: more and more grace ... more and more praise! So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace" (2 Co 4:15-18 TM). And Job adds "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold" (Job 23:10 NIV). It takes a lot more heat to produce gold than it does tin. So which do you want to be?
Are You Being Testes (2)
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials" James 1:2 NAS
Now, be honest. You've probably read today's verse and wondered if James was living on the same planet you live on. This may be one of the hardest commands to obey in all of Scripture. James said we are to respond to our trials with 'joy'. That leaves no room for complaining. Start praising God when your life is interrupted by a problem or circumstance you didn't plan on or see coming. Why? Because the truth is, we are either in a trial right now, coming out of a trial, or heading towards the next one.
James speaks of 'various trials'. You won't get bored by the trials you face because they'll come in every variety you can imagine. They're like some of the mail we receive, simply addressed to 'occupant'. All you have to do to undergo trials is occupy space on the planet. Notice, James didn't say 'if' they come, but 'when'. Will Rogers once read a newspaper headline 'Innocent Bystander Shot in New York'. 'You just stand around this town long enough', he said, 'and be innocent and somebody's gonna shoot ya ...' That's how it is with trials. Just stand by and you'll get hit. But why? James answers: "Under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way" (Jas 1:2-4 TM). Adversity produces maturity. The truth is, it can't come any other way!
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