Tag Archive | perseverance

The Tests of Life

Many students take tests in school and life, and many people learn and get educated in the real world, but how many of them realize that there is a God testing them through tests that they have to go through in life? James 1 says, ”
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.”

Sometimes in life we go through physical ailments, and different problems and we’re wondering why?  Why are we going through all these trials?  James, or in the original Hebrew, Yacov, says to count it all joy when you fall into trials.  You ask how can you experience joy when you fall into trials?  It is because the testing of your faith produces patience.  God is building up fruit in your life of patience.  Waiting for your physical healing, waiting for your financial breakthrough, waiting for everything to work out.

There is a reason for suffering.  Part of that is to partake of the sufferings of Christ.  When we have been fully tested, and we can confidently say that we trust in God, then God will be able to remove the disease, or we will have a lasting crown when we get to heaven.  God is a God of justice and a God of vengeance, and He wants our faith and trust in Him, and in Him alone, but in this society we have fallen away from trusting Him alone for everything.  We have man-made solutions for everything.  We know that God cannot work without man sometimes because He does not have hands and has to use people through His Holy Spirit, but sometimes we forget the power, might, majesty of the Holy God, that we don’t realize what He can do for us.

It seems like ever since I’ve been born again, it’s always been one thing or another.  One area of testing or another, and for me it was mostly physical.  When I wasn’t suffering physically, I was backsliding, and sometimes I had grace windows.  God has done so many things for me.  I am just amazed at how many times He has saved my life on the road when driving.  I’ve had so many near hits and collisions.  I just thank God for the miracles He has done in my life.  He is doing a refining work in our lives making us be prepared to meet Him, seeing that our faith never fails us.  Sometimes, familiarity comes in, when we have seen how many times God comes through, that we don’t take reverence of what He can do in our lives.  We begin to take it for granted.

I remember when I was first born again, there were these ferocious  dogs coming toward me, and some faith leaped out from my inner man saying, “IN the name of JESUS I COMMAND YOU TO LEAVE!!!”  I said it four times to those four dogs and they left.  They went cowering in the other direction.  Everytime after that for a while it worked and I didn’t see dogs like that and I had the faith and confidence to know I had a weapon.  But as time grew by I’d say even years, when I didn’t see dogs in my neighborhood or anything like that, and I faced other trials one even life threatening, that God had to rebuild my walk of faith.  This time it was a lot more difficult especially because I had to relearn how to walk again, and I was only 26 but it changed my walk.  God kept testing me on faith and bringing me from glory to glory.  When I was first born again, I was still pretty much a carnal Christian, but I slowly started to remove the carnality from my life with the help of the Holy Spirit.  I used to not have obedience and discipline not to read the Word of God everyday, and then I finished it once in 3 years and then I started to read it daily until I finished it again in six months.  Importance hear is not in time or how much I read, but in that I was dedicated to reading my Bible and soaking in the Word of God.  I have had times when the Word of God just came to my spirit, when I didn’t even recall reading that, but the Holy Spirit brought it to my remembrance.  We can get to a dangerous place, where the name of JESUS has lost it’s power for us, and when we get to that place it can keep things from happening.  The name of JESUS is very powerful.  Every name has to bow down to the name of JESUS.

In the Old Testament, like in books like Isaiah, and Jeremiah, the people of Israel were often tested and rebuked when they didn’t pass the test.  They would bow down to idols and let them take over their lives instead of serving the One and Only Living God.  They refused to believe.  So God poured out His wrath to them, and some of it is going to happen in the future because God is like a husband who loves His wife and He doesn’t want anything to happen to keep her away from Him.  He had given the people leniency time after time, telling them through prophets that these idols have no power, no authority.  With Elijah He even told Elijah to put these idols to the test.  Elijah tested the idol worshippers if they can cause the fire, and their gods could not do anything, but Elijah put God to the test, and God was able to produce the fire.  “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.'” 1 Kings 18:20

God is often testing us to see if we will truly follow Him, or follow after idols in life.  We may or may not have statues or images of carved things in our homes and lives, but God wants us to see if we will truly seek Him.  Many times I am sitting here looking at my laptop and sometimes even my television thinking, have these things become idols for me?  I still struggle with the issue of food from time to time and I have to come to realize that these are all areas that God is testing me.

A key link to testing is obedience, if you are obedient with a little God will give you more.  If you are faithful with just a little God will give you more.  You’ll notice that you’ll be tested more severely in your weak areas, which are the areas where there is more potential for faith.  Some of my weak areas would be with food and discipline with what I eat, so for that sometimes I end up with things coming upon strictly from what I ate.  One time I ate from Jack in the Box, and I’m not saying anything bad about Jack in the Box, but when I had clear instructions from the Lord not to eat those things and all I had is 1/4 a burger and 1/2 a taco, but then I felt the punishment for disobedient because I learned that I have to treat the body like it is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and sometimes I have to take verses like “Do not worry about what to eat”, and “Whether you eat or drink, do everything for the glory of God”, in second place to God’s clear instruction to my spirit.  In that case the best verse would be “The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.   This is a weakness, but I have also learned that if you “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness all will be added unto you”.

Often it’s all about the waiting.  God’s timing is perfect.  When you are trusting in God’s timing then things work out in your favor.  He’s never late and if you learn to just trust in Him and wait upon Him.  The problem with the Jews was when they were studying the Scriptures when Jesus came, they read about that God’s Servant was supposed to come in a certain way, but they didn’t read the parts that followed that if they wait upon Him, then they will see Him coming.  That’s probably why Jesus hasn’t come yet because He is testing man’s patience to see how long and how far they can trust Him.  Will they be willing to wait until the eleventh hour for Him to come to the rescue or will they want Him to come immediately?  The Bible does mention the hastening of His coming.

Wouldn’t it be nice after all these testings to see that you have made it to the end without anything wavering that you have completed your destiny and your purpose, that you have obeyed the will of God?  There is a secular expression that says, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  God has plans not to harm you, but to give you a future and a hope and for this reason He is letting you go through the testings of life so that your patience may be perfected.  So the more patient you become the less you will be tested.  That process shapes actually the whole fruit of the Spirit, so that a person grows through spiritual maturity and more and more into the likeness of God knowing that the Holy Spirit given by Jesus Christ abides in the person.  The more you have been tested and the more you have overcome and not by your own power but by the Spirit of God abiding in you, the more righteous a crown you will receive in the eternal life.  So let us be conquerors in Christ knowing that He has given us victory over the evil and we will be able to stand in the last knowing that we have done the will and purpose of the Mighty God.

When everything falls apart

When we go through hard times and there is nothing and no one that can help, our intimacy and relationship to God is the only thing that can get us through.  When you have been experiencing some rough times – some  Good questions to ask yourself are:  What are you going to do when your Bible is too heavy for you to carry?  What are you going to do when you are not physically capable of using your laptop or computer?  What are you going to do when you try to pray but can’t?  What are you going to do if you’ve lost your voice too?(Not saying that I have)  What are you going to do when you are by yourself and everything around you just seems to be falling apart and you can’t so much lift your hands up or use your voice?  What are you going to do during those times when God is silent or you haven’t “reached” that level of intimacy to bring you close to maturity.  Have you ever thought about these things?  These things are good things to think about.  What does it all depend upon?

Some say it’s obedience and it’s about you reap what you sow, but actually I think in Job, Job got more depressed when other people were saying things like that.  What really matters and what God is looking at more than faith, I would guess is your attitude.  Your attitude while suffering really is a good signal of how mature you are in Christ.  Paul said in Romans 8, “I consider these sufferings of the present time nothing compared to the glory that is about to be revealed.”  If you are able to keep a joyful attitude when suffering then that means you have something that is of value to God.  Sometimes the thing is not whether you are happy or sad, but what goes on in your thought life and how you lift up your heart to Him and just come to that point of surrender in knowing that you cannot do it without Him.  Even Jesus when He was on the Cross probably was not rejoicing and singing and shouting, but He maintained the Word confession out loud, and He surrendered to the sin that He took upon His flesh when He was on the Cross.  We all say we want a deeper relationship with God and a more intimate relationship with God, but do you know what it actually means to take on the nature of Christ?  It means to partake in the sufferings of Christ.  Although it is good that God does not give you more than you can bear, and though sorrow may last through the night and joy comes in the morning, we all have to suffer at some point and our attitude while suffering is important.

There are some kinds of attitudes that are healthy to have while in sufferings:

1)  An attitude of praise – If you are able to not curse God or blame God during the circumstance but to lift Him up and not allow the enemy’s tactics to discourage you and to bring you into self-pity then that is a good attitude to have.  I’ve done a blog post on Praise  –  I forgot what it’s called.  It might be called, “Singing in the Valley”

2) An attitude of communion – If we allow ourselves to acknowledge the fact that Christ has suffered too, and that no one has suffered to the point that Christ has as it says in Hebrews 12, then we will know that no matter what happens we do not have to be discouraged because Christ has already overcome the world, and we know that He has suffered as well.  There’s a verse – I think it’s in Phillipians  where Paul says that he thanks God to know the power of His resurrection, and to partake in the fellowship of His sufferings.  That must be a difficult thing to understand for some people.  I am not saying that you have to suffer that it is a requirement to fellowship with Him, but to say that if you are suffering rejoice because Christ suffered likewise.

3)  An attitude of rejoicing – When you are suffering, good chances are that you are being chastened or being disciplined by God, and even though it says that no disciplining is joyful but is grievous and painful, but the result is peacable fruits of righteousness for those that have been trained by it – We can still choose to rejoice.  We can continually have our hearts lifted up because – we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:4

4) An attitude of surrender – knowing that you are too small to fix all your problems is a great thing.  Knowing that there is someone greater and larger that takes care of everything.  It’s good to be obedient to the little that God has called you to do, but even when you have been disobedient and are trying to take control of your life and figure everything out for yourself then that God cannot operate in changing your free will, so you have to come and humble yourself before Him.  Job did that in the last chapter of Job, where He just surrendered to God and repented.  Surrender is a form of repentence – it is laying your will down and making a commitment to change. It is also the ability to realize how Great our God is.

5) An attitude of not complaining – no matter what circumstances you are going through, the less you complain, and murmur, the better it is.  But you can always talk to God and reason with Him.  Jesus is your mediator.  When Job was suffering he cried out for a mediator between God and man.  Aren’t we glad that we have one?

6) An attitude of Prayer – If at all you can pray, and prayer just means communicate to God in some form (I know some people say you have to utter out loud or speak in tongues), but in some cases you just need in your heart to communicate your heart’s desire to God and have that level of faith step in and take over.

7) An attitude of Be Still and Know – “When you have done all that you can do stand” – It says in Ephesians 6.  When we can just rest knowing that God still loves us and cares for us and that our prayers are being heard and answered then maybe that’s all we need.  We don’t need to beat ourselves up for what we have done because God knows and He is there to help you.  Sometimes He just wants you to go and spend time with Him and seek Him.

Sometimes it’s not about all the rebuking the devil that you do, but it’s about your attitude.  I don’t even want to get into all that’s going on right now, but I know God is faithful even when everything falls apart.  The key thing to remember when everything falls apart is that God works out all things together for good to those who love Him.  There’s going to be a blessing out of this situation that you might be going through – that is the peaceable fruits of righteousness.