Trials and Temptations – My Daily Bread!
The call on our hearts for today is taken from Deuteronomy 13: 3 which says:
“The Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Why would our God test His Saints? Well to test is to examine in order to determine quality, value or character. The Bible has many references to testing and the Lord which shows that this is indeed an activity God engages in relative to His Saints. Proverbs 17:3 reiterates “the Lord tests the Heart.” The Psalmist prayed for the Lord to: “Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” (Psalms 26: 2-3) And regarding Abraham, it is written “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.” (Hebrews 11:17)
The Lord already knows all there is to know about us, for Psalms 139:1-4 tell us: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, you know it altogether”.
Saints, God’s test is not about His learning something new about us! He tests us to get us acquainted with our true character, to reveal the true nature of our love for him. Each test is designed to validate and strengthen our faith and in the process show us what is truly in our hearts for God. In every test is an opportunity to draw closer to God; to understand the changes He desires in our lives to make us complete in Him. If we fail God’s test by not responding appropriately, the test can become a temptation which can lead to sin.
Is there a difference between a test and a temptation? Yes, a temptation is described as ‘the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise that usually have negative consequences’; whereas to test is to examine. The Word is also clear that God does not tempt us; or incite or induce us to do wrong. James 1:13-15 tells us “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin”.
Enter stage left – the Devil. He takes the outward manifestations of our hearts desires (especially when they are not lined up with God) and creates situations to draw us into sin. But do not be mistaken, our temptations arise out of our own desires, out of what is in our own hearts and minds; and if not kept in check can lead to sin.
Each trial is an opportunity to examine ourselves and our hearts: Is this a new test or an old test? Is this a temptation born of my own desires? Have I failed this test before? Am I responding the way God requires? What is the Lord trying to perfect in me? Could it be patience, humility, compassion, love, mercy, obedience, kindness, empathy, the gift of giving, joy in trials, or His peace? Am I doing what God commands? Do I revere and follow him alone? Do I serve and hold fast to His principles?
In all of God’s tests, be assured that “with us is the Lord our God to help us.” (2 Chronicles 32:8) In all the tempting that will come from the Evil One, God is there: “And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10: 13) In either case, look for God in your circumstances; know you already have the victory in Jesus, and that you “can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Copyright© 2011-2012 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.