“Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8 ESV
Dear Heavenly Father – Thank you for this word, today! You always show me what I need when I need it. Please bless anyone who reads this – open their ears to hear and eyes to see and their understanding so they may have an experience with you. – Amen
Woo-hoo! Today God is all over me with this one! I am counting it joy – but honestly, this kind of joy hurts a little. So let’s start with a quick review of yesterday – Temptation; most of the time we trip our own self up! God is good and does not tempt us. We need to grow up and get out of our own way. Now, on to today. We all know the Bible promises that trials will come. God tries and tests us to prove us – like a jeweler will try the precious metals to access their value. We are precious and God wants to prove our value.
God tried Job (in the book of Job) by letting Satan attack him and tempt him. Oh God even tried Jesus before Jesus started his ministry – Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days fasting and praying and Satan came and tempted Him. These are GOOD things that God designs to help shape us and form us and prove us. Trials are the only time Satan temps us that I was able to find in the Bible – the rest is our flesh and sinful nature as we read yesterday.
Trials are us picking up our cross and following Him (Luke 9:23). Jesus died on the cross. Trials are designed so that a personality trait or fleshly way we have dies. In order for us to move forward the old man must pass away and behold, all thing made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). So then:
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24 ESV
So, when we hear someone say something is ‘their cross to bear’ – it better be something that is causing their sinful nature (or flesh) to die. If it isn’t, then they are spreading a false doctrine and helping the enemy twist the Holy Scriptures. I don’t care if it was a joke meant with good intentions – their ignorance and willingness to be used by the enemy is not an excuse. Teach them the error of their ways. Keep the scriptures clean!
Before we dig in to deep (and I know I have touched on this before) we should look at common things people accuse God of testing them with and how there are other things called “troubles” – not of God or Satan (just like the temptations we discussed yesterday).
Troubles like unruly and hard to manage children are not your cross to bear and are not the trying of your faith – it is your lack of ability to disciple and teach your children. I know, it hurts – but there are plenty of materials on line you can find to become a better parent, and in the bible, and in the book store. Go learn.
Troubles like your spouse cheating and divorcing you is not your cross and not the trying of your faith – it is the result of sin. God will carry you through it much like a trial. But it wasn’t designed by God with His timing – you are covered with extra grace. But know, God did not cause this – He did not cause your spouse to leave and He did not cause your spouse to sin. God does NOT cause sin. If this is you – ask God to forgive you for being mad at Him. Apologize and let His grace carry you.
Trials are designed by God – sometimes it is the enemy who inflicts us. With Job there was a loss of his children and dear ones. If death happens please know, God did not kill your loved ones. The enemy goes around to kill, steal and destroy – God brings life (John 10:10). Did God let it happen? Yes. Because you needed to be proven by trial which is an act of love. Count it all joy that you are loved and thought of as valuable, therefore must be tried to assess your worth.
James 1:4 – quickly tells us what our response to the trials should be: To hang on to God steadfast. Don’t be shaken. Hold on for dear life. But hang on to God – not your own sinful nature and not your plan to work it out (that is extra weight and will make this harder – let those things go). Let everything go. Get as light as you can and hold on to God that through it you will be made perfect and complete “Lacking nothing”. Yea, it says that – you’ll shed off a lot and in the end you will not have any need – they will all be met.
I was praying for wisdom. If you have been following you know I have a strange work environment. I have been constantly the target of lies. I have constantly been harassed and the Human Resources department has sided with my oppressors. I have had management come down harder on me than on others – calling me out in front of other people and treating me unfairly. I have had terrible situations in the past and thought I knew how to handle it – but no matter what move I made, counterintuitively the whole thing blew up in my face.
In the mean while –I keep growing as a Christian and in faith. I gave my job to God. I worked through the Romans chapter 6, die to self (you may remember the posts). I pray for my boss and co-workers and everyone in the situation and lovingly pray for them. I get them thoughtful gifts and try to show love towards them – love which God has genuinely given me. I do my work as until God. I have literally tried every scriptural principle to manage through this – yet it continues. Each new day it is a new thing. I say – Oh No! I will not get caught up with the cares of this world. And I give each passing thing over to God to deal with. I have surrendered my independence and become completely dependent on God just to manage 8 hours of work. It is to the point, I just look up at the sky and say – so we are doing this now? Ok.
So I prayed for wisdom.
“5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8 ESV
And did you notice this was connected to the verses about God trying me?
And then it clicked. Then God said to me that this was a trial. It will not end as soon as I want, even though I know what it is. I have let go of a lot – there is another big thing He wants me to let go of. And maybe more so, even after that. But right now God told me I must let go of PRIDE. A subtle pride not a boastful one. I have worked hard to have a nice resume and impeccable career especially since I was labeled learning disabled and had to rely on supports to get me through schooling. As an adult, I did not disclose my disabilities and I succeeded – me. And since most of my adult life I was not living for Christ it was all me.
At least in my mind I did it
so terribly wrong
and this is the disconnect
because it was never me
it was always a loving and tender God chasing me and blessing me despite myself
IT WAS GRACE.
It was good therefore it was God – ALL GOD! IT was HIS provision.
I worked hard and got promoted – it wasn’t me though, it was my boss at that time (who was a believer) and she was used by God to raise me up. He was calling me back to Him with His love and generosity. And when I failed to return to Him – I lost that job (the company closed).
And I rebuilt – and I failed to see that it was NOT I who rebuilt, but God’s grace and providence that rebuilt. And never once did I acknowledge Him or thank Him. I just sinfully started building pride.
The story continues until today. BUT Now I do acknowledge Him and His grace. I thank Him. I repent of my ungrateful heart – and my selfishness. I beg for forgiveness. I humble myself. I have nothing to be proud of – I am humbly in awe of the fact that my God is larger than all and capable and has been taking care of me. He and only He promotes and only He demotes. God is in control of who is in control. And I am NOT in control.
I have been given a small portion at my current job and then they took even that from me – I no longer even have the authority to do my job. So now I am faithful with little – thankful for little – and trying to be a good steward of little. And if God thinks it is a means to provide for me it really isn’t little at all – it is a great big blessing from God. A blessing I am so thankful to have!
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12 ESV
The response God requires of all trials – no matter what ‘never ending series of attacks’ they may be, is to count it all joy – God is doing a great work in me! Praise the Lord! And here in Romans: Rejoice! (That is to ‘joy’ and ‘joy’ again and again!) The patience, is to just hold on while surrendering everything else. To go from independent to God-dependent. To hold on and have hope, because God promises it is only for a season. Don’t give up too soon and have to repeat the lesson. See this through. And GOD finishes the verse with: pray constantly.
Yes – pray.
Because He wants to hear from you. He wants to talk with you. He wants you dependent on Him so He can accomplish His plan to bless you – but more importantly than that – God, through Christ Jesus wants to talk with you and have a relationship with you. Trials help you draw close to God. Curl up in Abba Father’s spiritual arms and let Him guide you and transform you through the storm.
If you don’t already, and today you would like to, have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
I know that Saturday is the day with the least visitors here; but please come back and read. I know that we are picking back up where we left off.
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ Love one another
~ Watch and Pray ~
Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!