Don’t Wait for the Test to Get Ready

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My pastor did an excellent teaching about God’s grace this morning.  Sometimes we get terminology mixed up and perhaps ask for the wrong things when we face challenges.  Faith is an expression of our obedience to God, even when we don’t understand it.  But Grace is totally different.  It is the force of faith that we tap into to get the job done.  If He calls us, He enables us.  But that doesn’t mean we just kick back.  2 Peter 3:18 tells us that we need to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  So in essence, we are not praying for strength but for Grace…that supernatural favor of God that defies the limits of our intellects and nature.

That makes me think of people like American Pastor Saeed Abedini who has been sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in one of Iran’s most brutal and deadly prisons simply because of his Christian faith.  Yet we complain about “persecution” here which pales in comparison.  A friend of mine who was a legend in East Africa, amidst open attacks against Christians for almost 2 decades told me, “You can’t compare situations:  it’s difficult all over.  God gives grace for whatever you’re facing.  He gives you what you need at the moment.”

This all reminded me of a verse I read recently in my devotional times:  “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The word temptation doesn’t merely mean an enticement to sin although this verse is used quite a bit when speaking about purity.  It has many different implications when it comes to the walk of a Christ follower:

The enemy’s tool in tempting us to lapse from faith and holiness
If this is the case, as pat as this sounds, we have no choice but to keep advancing and wait on God to bring His mighty deliverance.  We know the weapons at our disposal:  the WORD, prayer (especially our heavenly language), and simply living for God.

A trial meant to develop godly attributes or faith
This could be from God or simply a life lesson playing itself out.  The trick is actually learning it the first time, otherwise it keeps coming back, bigger and uglier.  It may be a challenge to prepare us for an even bigger challenge later on.

The consequences of poor judgment or foolish decisions
“You made your bed, now sleep in it.”  We have to face the results of our mistakes and failures, but even then, God promises us His incredible grace.  He will not abandon us.

A surgical strike in the form of internal or external circumstances
Do we serve God simply because of what He’s done for us?  Or is it also because of Who He is?  A previous blog described what many times potentially hinders us from going all out for God:  the one thing.  With the rich young ruler, it was money and possessions.  With Paul, it was legalistic fervor.  With Abraham, it was his child of promise, Isaac.  In the midst of loss or denial or our way, do we still serve Him

An assessment of one’s integrity and virtue
This refers to who we are at present.  What do we have on the inside to keep us in victory or sink us into defeat?  This only comes through constant surrender and obedience to God.  It is strengthened through times in His Presence and time in His Word.  Essentially, it’s about storing up for a rainy day…which is definitely in the forecast.

A test to prove one’s character or fidelity
This determines what we’re capable of doing or how we’re going to respond if something catastrophic happens as in the case of Job.  These last 2 are the ones the world is really watching.  What is different about us?  How do they respond to the same things I face?  What gets them through each day?

Are we ready for the dire times ahead?  Are we constantly preparing ourselves so that we can be immovable and unshakable?  God will never let us down and He’ll always be at our side.  Essentially, there’s nothing that can throw us off unless we let it.  Thank God for his patience, mercy, and grace.

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