Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Purpose of Trials

- We, God's children and heirs, who are blessed with every spiritual blessing and who are born again into a living hope of eternal life with an imperishable inheritance, always have reason to rejoice...greatly rejoice ("agalliao" in Greek, meaning "jump for joy")! "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing..." (2 Corinthians 6:10a) True joy is independent of circumstances and is a fruit of the Spirit. We can rejoice even in our trials and persecutions for we know Whom we trust and Whom we belong to. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:11-12) 

- It also helps a lot when we remember the divine purpose of our temporary trials: proving our faith genuine, humbling our souls, weaning us from the things of this world, drawing us closer to God, helping us learn & grow in spiritual maturity, molding us into Christlikeness, and making us useful to God. Trials have their necessary place in the process by which God works out the sanctification of His children. God will allow only what is necessary for He does not delight to afflict or grieve His children. "For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone." (Lamentations 3:33) Trust His perfect love and perfect wisdom! "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) The joy of salvation makes the present grief bearable and even enables us to rejoice in our God and Savior and rejoice in hope of future glory through it all. A living, undying hope brings about a living, leaping joy, unhindered and unchanged by circumstances. Our various rials only last for a little while when compared to eternity. Grief is the natural response to the sufferings and afflictions in this fallen world, but faith and hope look forward to an eternity with God and rejoice as the Holy Spirit enables us.  

- Our faith is tested by how we respond to trials. We (and others) can see what we truly believe through trials. The authenticity of our faith (imperishable), being proven and refined in the fire of trials and afflictions, is more valuable/precious/rewarding than gold (perishable). And it will result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ returns. All of us long to hear from our Savior, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" He will honor our fruits of faith. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12) And we shall appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4). 

"It was well worth standing a while in the fire, for such an opportunity of experiencing and exhibiting the power and faithfulness of God's promises." (John Newton)

"There are no crown-wearers in heaven that were not cross-bearers here below." (Charles Spurgeon)

"To test the genuineness of a diamond, jewelers often place it in clear water, which causes a real diamond to sparkle with special brilliance. An imitation stone, on the other hand, will have almost no sparkle at all. When the two are placed side by side, even an untrained eye can easily tell the difference. In a similar way, even the world can often notice the marked differences between genuine Christians and those who merely profess faith in Christ. As with jewels, there is a noticeable difference in radiance, especially when people are undergoing difficult times. Many people have great confidence in their faith until it is severely tested by hardships and disappointments. How a person handles trouble will reveal whether his faith is living or dead, genuine or imitation, saving or non-saving." (John MacArthur)

"Afflictions are sent for this end, to bring us to the throne of grace, to teach us to pray and to make the word of God's grace precious to us... Many are taught with the briars and thorns of affliction that would not learn otherwise." (Matthew Henry)

"God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hand as a means. I say—and say it deliberately—trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith." (George Muller)
- Prayer: Father, thank You for walking with me and carrying me through all my trials! Please help me to trust You completely and remain thankful, faithful, & joyful in all circumstances. Please help me to quickly learn what You want me to learn. In Jesus's Name, I pray. Amen!

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