Some people seem to believe that God allows us to be tempted to prove something to Him. He never tempts us. (James 1:13) He does, however, allow us to be tested by situations. The testing that He allows in our lives is for our benefit. God already knows what our response will be, but the tests allow us to know where we are in our journey with God. If we wallow in self-pity in the testing, our flesh allows the tests to turn into temptations. When we are tested, we have to make a decision to trust God with the outcome or try to fix it ourselves. If we fix it, it is always a temporary fix and we soon find ourselves back in the same old situation. If we allow God to deliver us from our troubles, we will grow in our walk with Him and He can trust us with bigger things. We are His creation and it is His right to allow the tests. The tests are always for our benefit and the outcome makes us stronger. The most fertile ground is in the lowest valley, that is where faith is put to the test. We are His prized possessions and He would never do anything to harm us. A baby will never learn to crawl or walk if we carry it all the time. Thank God that He trusts us enough to allow the tests. The testing God allows is to make us stronger and wiser. As we mature, God is able to use us more effectively in growing His Kingdom here on earth. If we don’t take care of the little things, He cannot trust us with bigger things.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.— 2 Peter 1:5-7 NIV
We have accepted Christ as our Savior, what now? We are now new creatures in Christ Jesus and the new creature needs different food. Our fleshly desires will want us to continue in the old ways consuming the same old garbage, but these ways will not satisfy the new spiritual man. There will be a hunger and a thirst that we have not known before and that hunger and thirst can only be satisfied by the goodness of the Word of God. We need to add some spiritual food to our daily diet. Here in these verses, Peter has made us a short list of what is to be included. The list ends with love, which holds all the others together and without love, the diet would be incomplete and ineffective. We have been saved by grace through faith, now we need to add goodness and the knowledge of God. This is done by studying and meditating on the Word of God. It also includes prayer and conversations with other Christians. God has called each of us to a work that He planned for us long ago. But, first we need some training because God will never send us where He has not prepared us to go. We are sent to make disciples, but first, we must become disciples.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. — Romans 1:16 NIV
This verse must become alive in us and be the force that drives us to be a disciple. It can only be accomplished through “the power of God”.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Although James addresses this letter to the “twelve tribes”, the Holy Spirit included it in the Bible for our benefit as well. We are brothers and sisters of the Christian Jews, James and Jesus Christ. It emphasizes the statement that Jesus made when He said “in this world, you will be offended”. Troubles will come our way, of that we can be sure. There is a reason God allows trials and temptations to come into our lives. God knows our maturity level and what decisions we will make in those trying times. He allows those times so we will know where we are spiritually. Most of the time, if not all the time, we find that we have a long way to go to get to where God wants us to be. When the trials come, do we whine and complain or do we accept the situation realizing that God has put us here so we learn to depend on Him? There is nothing more sobering than when we realize that we have done what Peter did when he said he didn’t know Jesus. Oh, I am sure that we would never verbalize that, but what do our actions tell those around us? Like Paul, we should always realize that we are not there yet, but we should be focused on getting there.
We hear it almost every day. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people? Truth is that good and bad things happen to good and bad people. Is God still in charge? Why does God allow these seemingly paradoxical things to happen? Of course, God is still in charge and yes He does allow bad things to happen in good people’s lives. We can look at Job and see that this is true. God knows where we are spiritually at all times. I believe that God allows tests in our lives so that we can know where we are spiritually. The one thing we can know for sure and hang onto is this: Whatever God allows in our lives is for our benefit. Our experiences are how we learn and grow. We can be assured that God will not allow any temptation that we can not overcome and He always provides a way of escape.
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.–1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
God sends rain on the just and the unjust. It is not our business to determine who gets what, when or why they get it or don’t get it . Earthly stuff is temporary, we are to work to lay up rewards in heaven. The rest is God’s business and He always takes care of His business.
12 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. 13 But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming –Psalm 37:12,13 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
The way we keep on growing spiritually is to keep meditating on God’s Word. We must spend time alone with God each and every day. Reading God’s Word, meditating on it, praying and practicing what we have learned is the way we grow and attract others to Christ. We can only attempt to live pure and blameless lives, but it would be totally impossible without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The time we spend in study will help us to live lives filled with the righteous character of God. This will bring praise and glory to God, which is our primary purpose for being here.
God has made Christ the head of all things and has put all thing under the authority of Christ for the benefit of the church. We are the body and the body is a transport, if you will, to carry the head around and to use its various parts to do what the Head commands. Because we are connected to the head, we have access to The Source of knowledge, wisdom and power. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Since the body was made imperfect by sin, in the transmission of these things from a Perfect Head to an imperfect body, there is a great loss of power, wisdom, and knowledge. As we meditate on God’s Word, we find an increase in the flow of these things from the Head to the body. That is why we don’t do the miracles that Jesus did, It isn’t that we can’t, it is that the flow is inhibited by sin. As we grow closer to Jesus by allowing God’s Spirit to lead us, we find that we have access to more and more of God’s power, wisdom, and knowledge. We can choose to stay in the edge of the River that flows or we can choose to do our best to get to the current and enjoy more of what God has for us. The choice is ours.
Paul compares our salvation to a seed that is planted. When a seed is planted in dry ground, it must be watered regularly and continually. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He plants a seed of His love in our heart. For that love to grow, it needs to be watered by the washing of the Word on a regular basis. The soil needs to be exposed to the sun so it will be warm enough for the seed to germinate. The seed that is planted in us must be exposed to the Son for it to germinate. If we spend time in the Word, God the Holy Spirit will cause that love to grow. Our hearts will become more tender toward God and our fellow human beings. How fast this change takes place depends on how much time we spend taking in the food and the water of the Word. If God is the one who makes the seed sprout and grow, then doesn’t it make sense that the seed has to be exposed to God on a regular basis. We do that by spending time alone with God. While the names of the people that we allow to plant and water the seed are not important, their words and messages are very important. Be sure the seed is good (only the name of Jesus) and that the water does not contain impurities that will hurt the young plant.