This is the continuation of our last topic on why Christians suffer, we sometimes receive test from God to enhance us promotion and to build our faith in Him. However we have some price to pay if we are determined to pass His tests. This chapter will help you to become a “hero of faith” if you are willing to pay the price.
Who brings test and trials into the life of the Christian? Is it God or the devil? It is popular thinking to blame the devil for any pain or suffering we experience as Christians. And sometimes the devil is involved in our tests and trials. However, King David had a different view of the source of trials that come to leaders in preparation for God’s Service Psalm 11: 5. We can all praise God that most often we are not dealing with the devil in our trials and problems. We are dealing with God or our own misdeeds. Job’s suffering was permitted by God. (Job 1) but Job never blame the devil; Instead he said the hand of God has touched me Job 19: 21, Job 13: 15.
Why does God test or try us? The answer to this question can be treated under three different reasons.
Pressure Produces Enlargement: Psalm 4: 1. This psalm was written by David after the greatest failure of his life – his murderous, adulterous affair with Bathsheba 2 Samuel 11. Because of his Sin, the Lord sent several judgments on David. Even though his problems were of his own making, God graciously used these judgment times to make David a better man for the tasks yet ahead. If we acknowledge our failures and we repent our Sins (renounce and turn from our Sins) God will make us better. Hence our test or try produces progress or divine enlargement in terms of blessings.
Trials prove and humble us: God wants to discover whether we serve Him because we love Him or whether we serve Him for all the blessings He gives us. Jesus discovered that some followed Him, because of the loaves and fishes he produced for them. Not that they love Him.
Moses described God’s action in bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt, as a means of proving them to humble them. Deut. 8: 15, 16. (who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.) When God plans to enlarge and bless a Christian, He may take him / her into depths of circumstances or situation that may seem to bring about discouragement and hopelessness. Deut. 8: 17. When God gives enlargement, pride may come in it we think it is because of our own cleverness or gifts that we are enjoying such blessings. God in his love to save us from pride may allow some hard times prior the great enlargement and blessing. The trial of Job is an example. Job 1: 20. Job proved that Satan’s accusations were wrong and that his love for God was genuine. After all disaster he still worshipped God. Job 13: 15. In the end God gave back to him twice as much as he had before Job 42: 10.
Test can increase God’s power in us: If you ask for God’s power in your life, you must understand what is required to have it. When we ask for God’s power, he expects us to be willing and ready to stand for him in the process of sufferings, test or trials that may accompany it while we exercise total dependence on Him.
Paul teaches us several important lessons about tests and trials in the life of a Christian. He warned us to beware of pride. He encouraged that we depend on God, and rejoice in trials Romans 5: 3, Philippians 2: 13. Affliction separates the chosen from the called Isaiah 48: 10, Matthew 20: 16. Suffering teaches Obedience 1 Peter 4: 1, 2, 15, and 19. Trials produce perseverance and maturity James 1: 2 – 4. Our Lord and Saviour learnt obedience through those things which he suffers Heb. 5: 8 – 9. Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. And been made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.
The following are the three major causes of trials: God’s dealings, self – induced trouble, in our foolishness or ignorance. Attacks of Satan.
Response to trials: If it is God’s dealing then we need to submit to his will that it may be well with us. James 4: 7, if it is self – induced then we needs to learn from it, incase of an attack from Satan we have to fight him back without delay, and avoid re-occurrence, in prayers that agree with the word of God against the devil.