God is Relentless!
God wants His children to have Radical Faith!
From the beginning to the end, the Bible is filled with stories of tested faith and the miracles that come from passing the tests.
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation… And it is impossible to please God without faith.” Hebrews 11:1-2,6
Faith is believing for something we don’t yet see.
Faith earns a good reputation.
Faith pleases God.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
Trials are opportunities for Great Joy because they are the very things that will test your faith. In the testing of faith comes endurance, perfecting, completeness.
Job persevered through his trouble and saw God in ways he never had before, received double of all he owned, and lived a long, full life.
Abraham passed his test of faith and earned a good reputation…
“Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.” Romans 4:20-22
Tests of faith reveal what we really believe.
God is Relentless!
The “good” God intends from trials is refining and purification that leads to Radical Faith!!
He not only wants us to have knowledge of who He is, He wants us to know Him intimately.
He not only wants us to learn the truths of God, He wants us to live the truths of God.
The testing of faith exposes those things that need to be removed from our hearts so that we can fully know God, so that we can fully live in His truth.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
God wants us to be free of everything that clings to us and weighs us down while running the race He has laid out for us. There is a specific race we have been created for and it requires a stripping away of all we have in us that will hinder our run. It requires that we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus because He is the One who called us to our race and He is the One who will enable us to finish it.
We can trust Jesus because He ran His race to the finish. Jesus had the most intense test of faith; one more difficult than any one of us will ever face. As He cried out to His Heavenly Father in the Garden of Gethsemane He asked that God would change the race that was ahead of Him. The race that had been determined before the beginning of time. The race that led to the cross. It was a race that just thinking about caused Jesus to sweat drops of blood. Those prayers, those three times of intense battles between His flesh and His spirit to the One who called Him His dearly loved Son, always ended in, “Not My will, but Yours be done.”
Our physical and our spiritual cannot be separated.
This battle that Jesus experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane is the same battle between flesh and spirit that we face when our faith is tested. It is the same battle that causes us to plead with God, over and over, to take away the test that lies in front of us.
What was it that caused Jesus to go from asking for the race to be changed, to saying, “Not My will, but Yours be done”?
“For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross,”
The same word James told us to consider when facing our troubles.
I can’t think of a greater joy than that of death giving way to resurrected life!!!
But this is exactly what happens through the trials we face, through the testing of our faith.
Those things that are alive within us…
These things may have been passed to us generationally, they may have become habits of our sin nature, they may have come through the influences of those around us. These are the things that steal, kill, and destroy the abundant life God intends for us. These are the things that hide undetected in our hearts. They have become such a part of us. They have determined our thinking, our beliefs, and have defined us, but they are the very things that cling to us and hinder us from fully running the race that God has created us for.
These are the things that the testing of our faith reveals to us. The trial meant for our harm, comes to us through the loving hands of God who works everything together for our good.
The “good” God intends is that the trial will reveal something specific that He wants us to strip off.
The only way we can strip off the things that weigh us down is if we say as Jesus said, “Not my will, but Your’s be done.”
We need to be willing to see what it is that God wants put to death, to see what is clinging to us, what is weighing us down.
God is for us, He is relentless, and He knows we can’t see these things ourselves. He is faithful to work all things together, even the trials that come into our lives, to cause us to become desperate and cry out to Him for help, for understanding.
We won’t always like what He shows us.
It might require us to;
have a change of heart
forgive the impossible
love the unloveable
let go of something or someone we have held very dear
no matter what, it will require we die to self.
“Not my will, but Your’s be done.”
Whatever God shows us we mustn’t try to justify ourselves. We mustn’t give excuses. We mustn’t use logic or human reasoning to explain it away.
We must see it as God sees it and we must put it to death by confessing our sin, and by asking God’s forgiveness.
This is how we strip off the things that cling to us and weigh us down. This is how our endurance grows, how we are perfected and made complete.
On the other side of that trial we are free from our sin and we experience the Abundant Life and the Great Joy that comes from the testing of our faith!!!
Once we have a taste of the joy and freedom God intends for us and the increased faith that comes from a test, we have a “test”imony, and it is that testimony that will encourage others in their faith and it will be a reminder for us the next time a test comes along, to consider it an opportunity for Great Joy!!
So, yes, I have a “test”imony from the refining God had yet to do in my heart through the test of my faith concerning Hashimoto’s disease….coming next week.
PICTURES: PASSION PLAY 2012
Jesus: Jamie Gillem