In Times of Trials.These are times in our lives when we are in pain, at times physically, at other times emotionally, and sometimes both. Some of these seasons last much longer than a few days, and the physical strain can take a terrible toll on our emotions. On the other hand—when we are continuously despondent and disheartened, our bodies can suffer as well. Frustrations and setbacks bombard us, undermining our confidence. Just when we think things will get better, more bad news hits us.
The enemy is doing his best to make us question whether God really loves us, bringing up old sins, faults, and mistakes that have already been forgiven, and insinuating that they disqualify us from God’s blessings.
We should view each difficulty and challenge that comes to us as an opportunity to learn more about God, draw closer to Him in loving fellowship and be cleansed from our bondage to sun.
During times when we struggle with despair, experience loss, or fail at something important, we could get to a point where we place a value on our painful feelings and compare it to our own sense of worth. That perception is incorrect. Rather the one who truly understand our potential and worth is God, who accepts us, promises to love us unconditionally and enables us to do all He calls us to do.Psalm 30:5 “For His anger is but for a moment, His favour is for a lifetime, Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.”
Testing our FaithWe all go through trying times where our faith is tested. In both the Old and New Testaments, the words translated “test” mean “to prove by trial.” When God tests us, His purpose is to prove that our faith is real. Not that God needs to prove it to Himself since He knows all things, but He is proving to us and those around us that our faith is real, that we are truly His children, and that no trial will overcome our faith. Remaining faithful throughout any trials is evidence of our faith. In His Parable of the Sower, found in Matthew 13:3-9; Mark 4:2-9; and Luke 8:4-8, Jesus identifies the ones who fall away as those who receive the seed of God’s Word with joy, but, as soon as a time of testing comes along, they fall away. James says inJames 1:2-4this about testing our faith :2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.Similarly the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:3-5:3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.If we struggle when being tested or stumble along the way, this does not necessarily mean that we do not belong to Christ or that our faith is not genuine. One example would be Peter’s threefold denial of Jesus found in all four Gospel accounts: Matthew 26:69-74, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:55-62, and John 18:15-18, 25-27. Peter had followed Jesus after His arrest and watched Him being falsely accused, beaten, and insulted (Mark 14:57-66). When people began noticing Peter and asking if he was one of Christ’s disciples, out of fear Peter denied even knowing Christ. However, having disowned Christ actually strengthened Peter’s faith Because Jesus prayed for Him we read that in .Luke 22:3232 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”Not only did Peter strengthen the other disciples, but he became the pillar of the early church in Jerusalem, exhorting and training others to follow the Lord Jesus (Acts 2). We make mistakes but we learn from our mistakes, repent, strengthen our faith, ant helps us to persevere as believers in Christ.
However, if we continually find ourselves being unfaithful and denying Christ, then we need to closely examine ourselves2 Corinthians 13:55 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you[a]; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.Jesus said inMatthew 10:32-3432 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
The sword that Christ brings is what divides believers from unbelievers, the good from the wicked, those made righteous by grace through faith in Christ from those who reject Christ and remain dead in their sins. Jesus made it clear to us in:Matthew 10:37-3937 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
We are believers not because Christ promised things will be easy for us, but because of the message of the cross and Christ’s promises of salvation through His forgiveness, mercy, love and grace. We are told that in Acts 14:22“we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God”.What Jesus did for us at the cross was not easy, yet He willingly gave His life for us and took all of our sins upon Himself , so that we could have eternal life with Him even though we have done absolutely nothing to deserve it.Although most of us will never have to endure the suffering that Christ endured, we still go through hardships due to our faith. But the end result of the struggles that we may face will be worth more than the temporary hardships of this life. We are promised that those who persevere and stand firm to the end will be saved and inherit eternal life Matthew 10:2222 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.Luke 21:1919 By standing firm, you will win your souls.James 1:12 12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.In Romans 8:18 Paul writes18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.We should never become discouraged or lose faith because of what others may say or think.In my sermon last week we saw that Christians do not belong to this world, and Jesus warned us that we would be hated by the world because of His name inJohn 15:18-25
And in John 16:33 Jesus says:33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”Even though you may feel afraid at times, you must know that God is always with you and you should not fear.You also have no reason to feel ashamed. You should feel proud to be called a child of God. Those who practice ungodly things are the ones who should feel ashamed and definitely be afraid of God.
Everyone faces trials. Whether it’s losing a job or losing a loved one, when we go through trials they often make us wonder Why—why this? Why now? Why me? God uses the trials of life to refine us, to strengthen us, and to transforms us into His glorious image. During tough times We should stand on God’s promises by seeing our “problems” as God’s “possibilities.” As we accept God’s will for our lifeHow should we face our trials when our faith is being tested in the furnace:
Face your trials positively
Persevere through your trial patiently
Finish your trial maturely
Pray for wisdom consistently
Believe in God’s answer confidently.
We don’t develop Christ-like character all at once. It’s forged over time, especially through trials. But, how can you hang on to hope in the midst of the flames? God uses trials to purify us, test us, and ultimately bless us. God uses trials to strengthen and refine me
The Bible is filled with images of God working as the Refiner in our lives. One’s attitude and response to trials makes a difference
The mere presence of pain is not a promise of refinement. Our attitude and response toward your trials will help determine what God is trying to accomplish through them. We must guard our hearts from becoming hardened during the process. We can easily become bitterness and filled with resentment.
A Hardened Heart would say:“It’s not fair—no one is suffering like me”
A Humble Heart would say:“I am no different than others. God allows all his children to suffer.”
” You know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of suffering.” (1 Peter 5:9)
God has given us all we need to withstand trials and tribulations
Through every trial you can experience peace, transformation, and personal growth by depending on the guidelines of God’s WordIt is easy to say we “trust God in our trials,” but we often need practical steps to know how to trust him. How to handle the heat of Trials
When you are facing a fiery furnace, there are things you need to know about God’s relationship with you that will strengthen you and keep you in the fire until it has done its work in your heart
I have compiled a list of promises to hold onto and actions to take in faith when faced with trials so you should Know that ….
Believe in God’s answer confidentlyV6-86 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.The men sense the blazing furnace awaitsnever the less, they persevere James 1:1212 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.Whatever the trial you can be sure the eyes of the world are watching carefully waiting to see how a “Cristian” will cope within the crucible of a stressful situation.How will you react?Will you lose faith and curse God?Will the refiner’s fire be too hot to handle?There will always be sceptics – those who scrutinize and seek to criticize, the double minded who doubt and scoff.It has been said that “Christians may be the only Bible some people read”No doubt in situations of testing, the eyes of the world are on believers! In many ways it could be said that Christians are the only glimps the outside world has of this Christ we profess to love and serve. Certainly, God can use trials in our own lives to bring conviction in the hearts of those watching our response to the refining process.In the midst of each trial, as we endure the Refiner’s fire, let us be mindful of God’s divine work in and through our lives – often in ways we may never know this side of heaven – as God demonstrates and authenticates our faith to the watching world.Scripture reveals a promise for those who persevere ……..James 4:8 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.