Tailor made trials
‘Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him (James chapter 1, verse 12).’
In case you were unaware, the Christian life is not problem-free. We are not immune to the trials and tribulations of life. On the contrary, we are guaranteed throughout the Bible that we will indeed face trials throughout our lives.
Trials may present themselves in various forms. For some, it might be enduring challenging situations outside of their sphere of influence. Or perhaps, it might be suffering from disappointed expectations or having your character personally challenged. Furthermore, for some Christians trials will include being persecuted for their faith.
Maybe, you have already fought trials of many kinds and wear them as well-earnt battle scars. Or perhaps, for some, their wounds still bleed as they desperately seek healing. Whether you have or have not yet faced trials, we are all called to be prepared for trials that will come.
Every trial that we face is God-approved, tailored for our spiritual growth and maturity. Interestingly, in James chapter 1, verse 2-4, it is written that we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials because the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Furthermore, this perseverance will work within our lives to mature and complete us.
Through perseverance, these tailor-made trials will result in us developing a resilient faith. A steadfast faith, which can endure our earthly journey and will result in us receiving eternal life.
'When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James chapter 1, verses 13-15).’
As Christians, we believe that we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. However, we continuously wrestle with doing what we know to be right. In essence, we constantly battle two enemies – Satan and ourselves. God does not tempt us, we are tempted by our own evil desires.
In Ephesians chapter 4, verse 22, we are warned to disregard our old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires. Our desires, within themselves, start off as innocent.
Being hungry is not a sin, yet gluttony is. Being wealthy is not a sin, yet greed is. Sexual desire is not a sin, yet lust is. Hence, it is the luring of these desires which gives birth to sin. Moreover, over time, without repentance and accepting the gift of salvation, these sins will result in death.
The conception of sin
The difference between trials and temptations is clearly described in James chapter 1, verses 12-15. Perseverance through trials produces a steadfast faith and results in eternal life. On the contrary, when we are tempted by our own desires this produces sin and sin leads to death.
In Matthew chapter 4, verses 1-11 Jesus is tested in the wilderness. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting for forty days and forty night Jesus was hungry.
It is important to note, that God was completely and utterly sovereign over Jesus’ trial. The devil tempted Jesus, attempting to use Jesus’ human desire for food to lead Him to sin.
However, the line where sin is conceived was not crossed with Jesus. Although Jesus experienced the desire for the food He chose perseverance and trusted God throughout the trial. Hence, Jesus rebuked the devil did not cave into temptation.
‘Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created (James chapter 1, verse 16-18).’
How did Jesus preserve in His trial? Through His knowledge of the word of truth, the Bible. Jesus provided us with an example of how to resist temptation through trials by knowing the promises of the Bible.
So, how can we expect to be able to preserve through trials and resist temptation without reading the Bible? Simply, we cannot.
Sometimes, preserving with our Christian faith will be hard. The euphoric feelings fade but our knowledge of the truth will remain. God’s character, clearly demonstrated throughout the Bible, remains constant through all things and for all time.
A steadfast faith may not present itself in the form of a highly intellectual theological understanding, but instead in the form of a child-like faith where it is simply understood that God is good.
Jessica Knell is a Registered Nurse who is passionate about caring for children. She enjoys spending time in nature and reading a good book. Writing is her way of communicating with God, expressing creativity and processing ideas.
You can view her previous articles at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jessica-knell.html
Kiwi-born with British roots, Jessica Gardiner drinks tea religiously while her dinner table discussions reverberate between the sovereignty of God, global politics, and the public health system. Having experienced churches from conservative to everything but, Jessica writes out a desire for Christian orthodoxy and biblical literacy in her generation. Jessica is married to fellow young writer Blake Gardiner.