Handling Tests & Trials Biblically 2: Coming Forth as Gold + LINKUP

 

Handling Tests & Trials: Coming Forth as Gold - It's been said that either you have just come out of a trial, are presently in a trial, or are about to go through one. Trials expose our hearts. They remove the dross from our lives–those things which keep us from bringing glory to God as we should. But there are things we need to understand about trials and our responses.It’s been said that either you have just come out of a trial, are presently in a trial, or are about to go through one. Trials expose our hearts. They remove the dross from our lives–those things which keep us from bringing glory to God as we should. But there are things we need to understand about trials and our responses.

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Handling Tests & Trials Biblically: Coming Forth as Gold

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” In earlier posts we covered anger, depression, fear, worry, and guilt. If you missed any of them, just click on the link. You’ll find them all there.

Last week we talked about how God uses tests, trials, and suffering in our lives as a divine squeeze to let us and others see what’s in our hearts. We looked at biblical and unbiblical perspectives on tests and trials and God’s purposes in them. I hope you’ll take the time to read it if you haven’t, especially, if you’re going through a challenging time.

Today we’ll talk about our responses to tests and trials, how we can please Him during those difficult times, how we become like Christ as a result, and the resources God has given us.

 

Coming Forth as Gold

 

Nothing exposes our hearts as much as trials do. When trouble hits us, it’s easy to see the areas where we’re not fully committed to and trusting in God. But God doesn’t allow tests and trials to trip us up or so He can point His finger at us. God allows, even designs, trials to strengthen and purify us. Job said, “When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10, NASB).

But, as I pointed out last week, we sometimes have unbiblical perspectives regarding trials and suffering. We can believe:

  1. That they’re always our fault.
  2. That they’re always the other person’s fault. We can have a “victim” mentality.
  3. That they’re no one’s fault. This is divine fatalism.
  4. That they’re God’s fault. He causes everything, even sin.
  5. Or the Deistic view—that God isn’t involved in it at all. This is the belief that God created everything, but now He just stands back and watches without getting involved.

Then we looked at some biblical perspectives on trials and suffering:

  1. That they’re ultimately the result of the Adam’s fall (Gen 3).
  2. That God is the remote cause. In other words, He allows them, but He’s never the cause of our sin.
  3. That God is sovereign and He works all things according to His plan and purpose, including trials and suffering.
  4. That they’re always for God’s glory and our eternal good, even though God may temporarily set aside our happiness to accomplish something greater.

So, since God has allowed whatever we’re experiencing and it’s for our good, how should we respond?

 

Responding to Tests & Trials

 

It’s important to understand that we’re accountable for our responses no matter how we feel. We’re to respond in ways that please God. That should be our goal in life no matter what our circumstances.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5.9-10).

While it may be easy to justify wrong responses, God gives us the grace  to respond rightly.

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 (1 Cor. 10.13).

We shouldn’t pray to just “hang in there” or somehow get through trials and suffering. We should ask God to help us grow in the midst of the difficulty and to become more like Christ (Rom 8.28-29; Jas 1.2-4).

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (Jas 1.2-4).

While we may not always rejoice in the suffering itself, we can rejoice in the fact that a sovereign God can work through the trial.

Most of us can look back and see how God has used other trials for our good and how we’ve grown in our faith and trust in Him, not in spite of trials, but because of them.

So, what are some of the specific reasons God allows trials and sufferings?

 

Handling Tests & Trials Biblically: Coming Forth as Gold -


Some of the “Why’s”

 

While we need to be careful of demanding to know “why,” there are some why’s God has revealed in His Word.

  1. Because of unconfessed sin (1 Cor. 11.30; 2 Kings 5.15-27).

In talking about the Lord’s supper in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul said:

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

The Lord’s supper is a time to remember what Christ did and a reminder of the importance of examining ourselves, but self-examination is something we should do on a regular basis.

Because the people had failed to do so and to confess and forsake sin, many were sick, some had died, and some were “weak.”  That word weak means, “having a propensity for sickness.” We might say “sickly.”

Of course, we need to use caution when viewing the suffering of others. We can’t assume they are guilty of sin. That was the problem with Job’s counselorsContinue reading

“Our Impossible Calling” August 13

 

Our Impossible Calling - As followers of Christ, we are to become living sacrifices. One way we do that is in our relationships with other people. We are to love, prefer, and do good to others even when they hurt us. An impossible calling, if we try to do it in our own strength!As followers of Christ, we are to become living sacrifices. One way we do that is in our relationships with other people. We are to love, prefer, and do good to others even when they hurt us. An impossible calling, if we try to do it in our own strength!

Also, read about the danger of being lulled into complacency by the comforts and favor of worldly people.

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 17 & 18
Psalm 95.1-5
Proverbs 23.1-3
Romans 12.1-21

 

We’re closing in on two-thirds of the year gone and two-thirds of the Bible read! Congratulations to those of you who are still going!

But even if you just joined us, the Word of God is always profitable!

On to our Bible reading …

 

Our Impossible Calling

 

Romans 12.1-21:

Living Sacrifices

 

Verse 1 begins, “I beseech you therefore, …”

Paul is saying “therefore”—because of everything I’ve just told you in chapters 1-11, let these truths change the way you think and act. Then he goes on to tell us of some of the specific ways, our salvation should be lived out.

He begins by asking us to offer our bodies as “living sacrifices.” We’re called to sacrificial living.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (v. 1).

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality (vss. 10-13).

We’re to honor others and prefer them above ourselves, not with an “if I’ve got to” attitude, but “fervent in spirit”—enthusiastically, joyfully. This is something we should rejoice in doing out of gratitude for all Christ has done for us!

We should gladly serve the Lord, remain hopeful, believe the best of others, be patient when tempted to be impatient, be faithful in prayer, be a giver and show hospitality to others.

Verses 14 and following up the ante even more! We are to “bless those who persecute us” (v. 14), rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (v. 15), associate with people of humble means (v. 15) instead of always trying to move up on the social ladder (v. 16), not think too highly of ourselves or get the idea we have arrived (v. 16), and refuse to repay evil with evil but return good to the very one who has hurt us (vss. 17-21).

It’s a high calling—an impossible calling in our own strength.  Continue reading