Today we will be discussing:
Trials and temptations are a normal part of a Christian life. Seriously, if you are a born again regenerate child of God you will face both trials and temptations. There seem to be many different teachings on this subject but do they have it grasped correctly? Enter a “Christian” book store and you will find many books dealing with many things. Now you may wonder “Why did i place the word Christian in parenthesis“? I’ll tell you. Nothing is safe for us to digest without discernment. Many of these stores sell books by known heretics and those with huge theological errors and still these books get passed off as “safe“. You may hear/read that temptations can be overcome using “the buddy system“, or by just trying hard enough to resist. This can even be followed by statements such as “if you have enough faith“. This puts the focus on you and your faith and if you lose the battle of temptation then you must not have had enough faith (and in comes more guilt and shame). Also trials and temptations get mixed into a group together and often times get confused. My focus today is to discuss both trials and temptations and to understand them better.
Temptations (Not Sunshine on a Cloudy Day)
James tells us that temptations are not from God (Jas. 13-15). Temptations are in fact from the Devil. They stem from the evil that is in us and the world. Temptations are meant to lure us away, but from what? Temptations come to lure us away from God. Satan uses this tactic to bring us closer to anything that is not God. This means anything. Its not just those websites we are tempted to glance at when the lights are out and everyone is asleep, nor is it limited to the temptation to steal. This covers every area that is not God. Temptations get us to lean more on ourselves, others, or things more than God. We can also refer to the Garden of Eden as well as the Temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Satan used different tactics to tempt. He starts with a twist of God’s Word or different meaning there-of and makes it appear that its either alright to do something or that the punishment is not that bad. Doubting God starts there then the reliance on something else enters in. Folks, this happens daily and we fall into this daily. Now that we understand temptation and it’s roots, lets move on to trials.
Trials (Sunshine After a Cloudy Day)
Looking at James 1:2-12, we can see that trials actually come from God. Why would this be? Doesn’t God want good for us? He sure does. Then why would He tempt us? Hold on, did you catch that? “Why would He tempt us?” So often we confuse trials with temptation. God does not tempt us. These trials are a means of testing and growing our faith. If temptations are meant to draw us away from God then trials are meant to draw us closer to God. God uses trials not to check if we have faith, for He knows if we have faith because He is the giver of such faith, He uses these trials to grow our faith in Him. This strengthens our reliance on Him, not speaking about earthly wealth but of spiritual wisdom and faith in Christ for salvation. A trial is just a challenging circumstance in this world. So when this happens we rely on God, by faith, to help us and guide us through the assurance of salvation. Earthly trials seem trivial when we realize that this life on earth is temporal. Eternity without troubles is ours by faith. Understanding this helps us to cling closer to God when tragedy or unfortunate circumstances arise. When we draw closer to God, our faith becomes stronger for we have confidence that God will bring us through such hardships. Another good point to make is not putting to much emphasis on “us drawing closer to Him“, for God is the one drawing us closer, by grace through faith, to lead us through the trial.
Temptations and Trials
When we are struck by a temptation or a trial we are to draw closer to God. Yet, the problem is, we don’t. We allow the temptation to lure us away down the path to our own sinful desires that satisfies our selfish cravings. We not only walk away from God we run away from God. We run to our sin and by this we slam the door in the face of God and claim that we know better than He for ourselves. When trials come we still run from God. We blame God for the circumstance and curse Him instead of trusting our Father to provide any way that He sees right because He is God. Yet, we make ourselves a god and follow our own passions and our own sinful thinking as to what is right and should be done, for we do not have patience nor do we have the mind of God, and in turn we are quick to offer a solution to fix the circumstance even though it may not be the correct or better action that God would provide. Who can do more to fix a circumstance, you or the Creator and sustainer of all that is visible and invisible? Repent! God is who we are to turn to in EVERY circumstance. As we read in (James 1:19-27) we are to be doers of the Word and not just hearers. James discusses the difference between those who hear and claim to be “religious” and yet have no fruit in bearing with ones repentance, and those who hear and have produced fruit in keeping with repentance. Today, His Word calls you to repent not just to hear and have head knowledge. Repent and believe! The body and blood of your Lord has saved you from the wrath that you deserve for running away from God. He hung nailed to a cross and suffered the wrath of the Father for you! We can trust in Jesus’ propitiation because the Father and Spirit has raised Him from the dead and has ascended Him to the Father’s right hand. He will come back to judge the living and those that have died. As hearers and doers, those who have been regenerate and brought to repentant faith, we will be saved! Jesus will come for His bride and we have security in our eternal salvation because He paid our sins but also has risen! Trust in Christ and He will save you! For, He cannot lie and He has completed the payment to release you from sin, death, and the devil and has purchased you to Himself. He did this not with jewels, gold, and all the money in the world; but with the most precious and priceless item of all, His very body and blood! Go in peace your sins are forgiven. Until next time, put on the full armor of God and stand firm on the foundation of Christ!
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