You may be going through a hard time right now. You may be feeling as if you are going through a test and you are failing! If you are struggling in a hard time, I want to share some things that I hope will help. The Bible calls hard times “trials”.
First, let’s define what the Bible is talking about when it mentions a trial.
Trial – temptation or a test – similar to an experiment to determine the validity of something.
Now, there is a difference between the biblical definition of temptation and a test. In its truest sense, a temptation is when we are enticed by our own lust to do evil. Often, the instrument used to tempt us has been placed before us with evil intent.
Here is something to remember about temptation:
James 1:13-17: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. The when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
If you are being tempted to do evil, God is not doing the tempting. It is our own lust which is enticing us to do evil. No matter how beautiful or desirable the temptation is, if it is enticing us to do evil, it is not from God!
Trials are a different matter. The intent of a trial is to test the validity of our faith; and while doing so, purify and refine our faith. Just as gold is proved valid and purified by fire, so is our faith. Just as heat removes impurities from gold, so the pressure of a trial is intended to remove impurities from our lives.
That doesn’t mean that you may not experience temptation in your trial. The definition of a trial we just reviewed actually tells us that in some cases, both senses – temptation and testing can be present. But, if temptation arises in our trial, it is not originating from God, it is originating from our flesh. The trial is only revealing what is already present and the intent of the Holy Spirit is to destroy the evil in the fire of God!
Here are some other truths 1 Peter tells us about trials:
- Trials come in different forms.
In chapter one, verse six, it says that we go through “various trials”. Each trial is different but there is a purpose in every trial you face. Some trials come as a response to our faith in the form of persecution. We are persecuted because of our faith in Jesus. The trial that comes as a result of our faith in Jesus serves as a testimony to His glory. It confronts the world with His reality and lordship. These persecutions also serve as “focus events” in our lives: destroying all else but the desire for His will! They also are collecting for us great rewards in heaven!!
Some trials come as a result of adverse circumstances. Such trials also have within them the power to bring focus to our lives; to sharpen our intent to live for Jesus no matter what comes our way. Trials of circumstance purify our lives and sharpen our faith.
- Trials come as needed.
Verse six also says that we go through trials “if need be”. Remember, there is a purpose in each trial you face. Things are not happening to you “haphazardly”. God is in control of your life. God’s intent is for you to be strengthened by what you go through. Trials have no other purpose than to strengthen and purify us and to bring glory to Jesus!
- Trials are painful.
Verse six also says that trials can bring us grief. Fire is hot, is it not? If you touch fire, does it burn you? Does fire have a purpose? Yes, it does! Submission is recognized in our lives as genuine when we face suffering and pain in the knowledge that God is in control of what is happening to us. We hate pain, yet pain is a great refiner and a great tool of focus. We try to avoid pain at all costs. The avoidance of all pain in life seems like a lofty goal, but is a fool’s goal to turn life into something it is not. The desire to avoid all pain will also lead us to the avoidance of all that can grow us and the avoidance of that which exalts God. God uses both good and bad in our lives to bring what is good for us to us. This is not popular preaching but it is real and mature. We live in the presence of imperfection and the flesh and the devil, so pain is inevitable. God, use it to bring glory to you!
- Trials have a time limit.
No trial lasts forever. I repeat: no trial lasts forever. Even if you have some type of handicap, that will disappear in the light of the glory of God! Trials last for “a little while”. We cannot sell out eternity and the blessings of God for the temporary. Get it in your mind: there will come a day that what you are going through will be over! If you don’t have a vision of the future, you will sell out the present! God has His hand on the time limit of your trial! Trust His timing!
- Trials test the genuineness of your faith.
How do you know something is real? You test it. How do you know something is operating according to design? You test it. How do we know our faith is founded on Jesus alone? It is tested.
- Trials deliver the soul.
In the presence of the fire of your trial, every love, every leaning toward a certain response, every bad attitude, every excuse, every lie, everything that you have a tendency to lean on and depend on other than Jesus, will be exposed and burned off of you. Deliverance comes in different forms, but this is one form which God does use in our lives. When your trial is over, the goal is for you to be more like Christ!
The Bible gives us this perspective on trials:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Can you see Jesus with you? He’s there so don’t give up! Your hurt is not being wasted. His love cannot allow it. This too will pass and when it does, you will rewarded for your faithfulness and trust in God!