Am I being tempted or tested?
Have you ever heard someone say, “God is tempting me, or He’s testing me”? (Maybe you’ve said this yourself.) The bible makes it very clear that God neither tempts us nor can He be tempted (James 1:13). Most of the time we’re tempted when we’re drawn away by our own lusts and desires. But what about testing? Would God test us or allow us to go through tests?
In James 1:2-3 it says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Notice he said: “various trials.” That means we will experience different kinds of tests in life, but not all tests are the same or come from the same source. The word “test” simple means to prove, be approved or examine. Now let me differentiate between tests, temptation and tribulation, because most people think they mean the same. Jesus said in John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The word tribulation means pressure. It’s relating to the problems we face and battles in this life. We do live in a sinful and fallen world and bad things happen no matter who you are. In many cases, the devil who comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10) is bringing these tribulations. He wants believers to stop walking by faith and trusting God. He wants you to give up, and he tempts us to throw in the towel and quit. The devil sets traps that are tailored just for us in our weak areas to see if we will be ensnared.
A way of escape
Now God always gives a way out of these situations, and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle (1 Corinthians 1:13). During these trials and tribulations, Christians are tempted to abandon their faith and stop trusting God. Remember, God has no part in tempting the individual, or bringing problems to us. In James 1:17 he said, “Every good and perfect gift come from the Father.” So clearly, the Lord is not bringing the bad things in our lives. Here is the point, the temptation and trials we experience are tests in and of themselves.
We have the opportunity to pass these tests by using our faith. Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It’s true we get faith from God’s word, but it is through these tests in life that we actually get to use our faith and help it grow. This is just another opportunity to trust God and prove ourselves faithful because it’s our faith that’s being tested at this point. The apostle Peter alludes to this in 1 Peter 1:6 – “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire.”
A test of the heart
As we go through these trials in life, God is watching one thing: our heart. You see, God tests man’s heart, motive, character and faithfulness. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 says, “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our heart.” Once we’ve passed the tests that come our way, we go to a higher level of trustworthiness with the Father and enter His rest. At this point, God pours out His best because you choose to do the right thing and overcome. Instead of being discouraged when life gets tough, we can approach these tests with a smile, stay calm and not lose our peace. This is an opportunity for us to grow in faith and pass a test to receive His best. 1 Corinthians 3:13 states: “3 each one’s work will become clear; for the day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.” Be of good cheer, my friends, our Lord overcame so we could be overcomers! Pass the test and receive God’s best.
|Associate Pastor Bobby Wayne Musgrove is an ordained minister at the Denver House of Prayer. He is joined in the ministry by his wife, Bobbi Allison, and two children. In his spare time, he is a violinist and loves to hunt.|