Read: James 1:12 and 1 Peter 1:6-8
Reflect: Before we talk too much of funerals and celebrations of life, can we just talk for a minute about the mess-ups, the hang-ups, and the trip-ups? We all have them, and I believe it would be foolish for us to try and ignore them and live powerful lives. Oh, how I’ve tried, though. For so many years, I just thought I should be able to stuff all the yuck far away so that I could live effectively for Christ.
I couldn’t have been more wrong, and our scripture passages today teach why those thought processes always led me to crash and burn (or at least wind up frustrated). Our faith must be tested! Humanly, we just don’t have the ability to live faithfully in our own strength and power. We need Jesus, and it seems we need the obstacles to expose our great lack without Him.
The trials you and I face (they’re different for every one of us) sanctify us by bringing the yucky to the surface so that God can burn it off. And, let me tell you, it DOES burn. The sting of death is a real thing, but you and I are called to die to ourselves so that He can live in us.
Beth says it this way, “Did you notice the loop between testing and proving genuine in both segments (James 1:12 & 1 Peter 1:7)? We don’t have to prove anything to God. He is the Knower of hearts. He knows exactly what we’re made of and exactly what He invested in us. He knows the immensity of the treasures He tucked way down inside of us in a place that can only be can only be tapped by turmoil. God knows precisely how He gifted us and to what unfathomable degree He empowered us through His own Holy Spirit. He knows to the minutest detail how thoroughly He has equipped us. God cannot be conned. He requires no proof to quell His own curiosity. Confusion is human, not divine. God knows exactly how real or pretentious our faith is. But we don’t. That’s the thing….. God tests us to bring out the real us.” (page 63 of “Audacious”).
Respond: It’s going to seem very odd that I’m asking this question in week 6 of our study. But, do you trust God? Please don’t be too quick to answer. I want you to take some time and think about this question. I’m not asking you if you trust in God, as in for salvation. I’m asking if day in and day out, in all of life’s highs and lows, in each and every positive or negative circumstance, do you trust God to work it out?
I would love for you to spend some time responding to this question today. I will join you. I will lay all of my obstacles and struggles before the Lord with this one question, “If none of these situations worked out like I’d like them to, would I still trust God to be good and faithful?”
Renew: If you couldn’t answer those questions with a resounding, “yes,” I’m so proud of you for not being fake. Confess and talk with God in that honesty. He’s such a powerful God and a good, good Father. He will meet you right where you are. But, all cards on the table, I’m praying HARD that He moves you past it this very day. I’m believing enough for the both of us!
If you were able to answer “yes,” to those questions, you and I both know that He gets the glory for that kind of faith. Would you join me on my knees crying out to Father God in gratitude for the way He’s brought us through the battles? Our trials uncovered genuine faith through more knowledge of our Savior. I wouldn’t trade what I’ve come to know of Jesus for anything in the whole world. And, if you’re trusting Him fully today, I believe you feel the same way.
Either way, I’m sure of this…. Those that can answer with a resounding, “YES, I trust the Lord” will lead lives that leave a mark on this world long beyond their departure.
I’m including a song that’s somewhat old. But, these words are the ones that typically rush to my memory when I’m worshiping God in gratitude.