Monday, April 16, 2007

Trials Test Your Love

This past Friday I asked the question “What do trials reveal?” My question was posed because James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” In this passage, James calls for us to have a joyous attitude and an understanding mind toward trials. The Greek word for “knowing” (ginosko) “suggests a knowledge grounded in personal experience. “As they adopt the attitude called for amid their trials, they will come to the personal realization ‘that the proving of your faith worketh patience’ (Hiebert). Trials reveal the strength and validity of our faith and they reveal what we really love.

In revealing what we really love, Genesis 22 records the story of Abraham and Isaac. God tells Abraham to go to mount Moriah and sacrifice his only son Isaac. This is the test that he is given. Abraham loved God more and was willing to give up that which was precious to him. In the end he was told, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (v.12). So the test God was giving Abraham was the test of his love for Him.

Notice a second test that is found in Matthew 6:19-21. Here Jesus asks, “Do you love your money more than God?” He says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

John MacArthur says, “Trials test our love for God by how we react to them. If we love God supremely, we will thank God for what He is accomplishing through our trials. But if we love ourselves more than God, we will question God’s wisdom and become upset and bitter. If anything is dearer to us than God, then He must remove it in order for us to grow spiritually” (Benefitting from Life’s Trials, 17).

Trials don’t just test our love for God they also enable us to help others. The comfort and lessons you learn from the trial are to be passed to others. 2 Corinthians1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

A joyous attitude and an understanding mind are two essentials attitudes we need to have in trials. How is your attitude today?

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