As Christians we are often faced with times of trial. Perhaps it’s because of being heavily investigated for actions I had taken as a nonbeliever, but one of the main things I thought of during that time when I heard the word trial was a court of law. In the end, whether I’d be facing jail time, paying a fine, or the best case scenario, being set free to have new opportunities, one thing I knew for sure was that no matter what something was going to be different after that trial.
Now being born of God, I immediately think of other things when hearing about trials. Still, the investigation is being set, but it’s a whole different kind of trial. It’s so amazing how God transforms our lives, starting from scratch.
Too many “teachers” today are saying that if you are in a trial that it’s because of a lack of faith. How unbiblical to lead a person to such conclusions when too many times in Scripture we see the very opposite.
When we read Acts 14.22, we see that Paul had been stoned and thrown out of the city for preaching the Gospel, and yet went back in and continued even after being declared dead. It says,
“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith,
and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14.22
Paul knew that in order to live according to the Word, there would be tribulation.
Now, this being said, I think it is important to say that we do not get into the kingdom of God because of our trials, but this is the natural affect of knowing the truth, and sharing it with others. There will be persecution.
This doesn’t sound like the message you probably heard last week on TV does it? That’s because the majority of what makes popular TV so popular is called “me-ism” teaching, i.e. it’s all about me. “Jesus died for ME, He gives ME treasures in heaven, He blesses ME in this life, etc.” These are all indications of the direction these teachers are trying to take you. Let me give you 4 key words that are summed up in all of Scripture:
Now that we’ve taken the “us” out of the picture, let’s look at the trial. You see, in my B.C. days (before I accepted Christ), I looked at trials as losing something, but when you’re a new creation in Christ, like it talks about in 2 Corinthians 5:17, trials are actually a gain. Bear with me on this.Let’s take a look into 1 Peter 4:12-19,
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange
thing happened unto you: But REJOICE, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed,
ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (emphasis added)
Here we see that the Holy Spirit, through Paul, tell us not to count it strange when trials come. Done! I think we’ve established that one. Now he jumps to REJOICING. Wait, WHAT? We’re still talking about trials right? Yes! God tells us to rejoice during these times which are bound to come. Why on earth would we rejoice in a time of trial? Well, let’s keep reading.
“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, HAPPY are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:
on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”
Now we’re told not only to rejoice, but to be happy. But there’s a key to this happiness. After my long awaited rabbit trail, we’ve arrived at the point of the title of this post. God tells us that even though we’re under persecution, having health issues, or anything else testing our faith (James 1:3), on our part we have the opportunity to glorify Him! This is the key! This is the clincher. We seek to praise our God not only for His gifts that seem pleasant, but also the gifts of stripping us out of the way. There are two ways you can turn in a trial. “Oh, woe is me” or “TO GOD BE THE GLORY!”
This is the trial that Peter is talking about in 1 Peter 1:7,
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,
though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
Continuing in 1 Peter 4:15-19 it says,
“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him GLORIFY God on this behalf.(emphasis added)
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us,
what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls
to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
So to end with the key point, trials come as an opportunity, like a gift. God gives us the choice to point to ourselves and gain all the attention or we can point to the Lord on high, who while we were still sinners, He sent His only Son to bear ALL of our sins on the cross and die the death we all deserve. Although Christ suffered and died in our place, He still calls us to die with Him and rise with Him in His resurrection, being given new life, all for the opportunity to point to Him. I praise God He saved me from my consequences leading to eternal death.
Even though we WILL see tests, trials, and persecution in this life, we’ve been given a sure and certain promise that our home is eternally with Jesus. Let’s take advantage of the time we have to turn others away from us and point them to the only One who deserves all the glory!