HAVE YOU BEEN TESTED RECENTLY?
James 1:2 KJV My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. In our mind the word temptations has a negative connotation that it is seeking to cause us to sin, It is more often translated TROUBLES or TRIALS or TESTINGS. Even then we don’t feel like throwing a party and getting excited as James suggests we should do when we go through such an experience. I guess we may throw a party when the testings are over.
James is clearly highlighting the fact that our God is sovereign, He is in complete control, and NOTHING COMES OUR WAY WITHOUT HIS PERMISSION, He permits many different circumstances and even permits the devil to put us through difficult times, like he did with Job.
Let us highlight Paul’s words here found in 1 Cor. 10:13 NKJV No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Paul immediately spotlights God’s FAITHFULNESS He will not permit the temptation (testing) to go beyond what we are able to handle, and we will experience what Paul declares the Lord said to him in 2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Let me quote again John Piper’s definition of Grace here.
“Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned, Grace is the enabling Gift of God NOT TO SIN, Grace is POWER, not just pardon”.
What a glorious promise Paul gives us,
- God will not permit the testing to go beyond what He knows we can handle.
- God has prepared a way of escape available for us
- God’s grace is sufficient for us to bear the testing.
As well as the Lord permitting circumstances and the devil to test us, GOD HIMSELF PUTS US THROUGH TESTS. The write to Hebrews expresses it this way in Heb. 12:6 KJV For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. The MESSAGE IN VERSES 5&6 say My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either, it’s the child he loves he disciplines, the child He embraces He also corrects.
Here the writer tells us God CHASTENS US, He does it because he loves us. The word scourg/ing is best described in the language of the day, where a Roman soldier would take a leather whip with bone and iron built into it called a cat-o-nine tails, the Psalmist prophesised relating to Jesus’s scourging in Psalm 129:3 NKJV The plowers plowed on my back; they made their furrows long.
As a parent, I had to discipline (spank) my children (2 sons) on a number of occasions, with tears literally running down my face, I hated doing it, but I did it, because I loved them. They are both in the Kingdom of God today loving and serving the Lord. One son (now 50+) actually thanked me some time ago for spanking him.
So the next time, you (or I) go through a testing or trial, let us remember the Lord has permitted it because He loves us and wants us to grow to maturity and be fruitful instruments in His hand