Vince Lombardi once said, "If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?"
To win in life, we must know the difference between testing and temptation. In testing, God wants to mold our character. Like a good teacher, he always wants us to pass the test. In temptation, the evil one delights in our failure. Furthermore, he wants us to feel guilty about our sin.
"God tested me by telling me that I should take my mama's jewelry, but I did not," says Victoria, 7. Actually, the voice Victoria heard is not from God. The Lord will never tempt us to sin. We must learn to hear God's voice and to resist temptation.
"God has tested me to call my brother names," says Tristan, 7. I didn't do it, because it was not Christ-like. I didn't want to hurt his feelings."
Tristan has the perfect reason for not wanting to hurt her brother's feelings. Everything we do should be Christ-like. The test Tristan ascribes to God deserves further consideration. Is name calling the kind of test God would send? I don't think so, especially when Satan is called the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).
"God tested me when my fish died and my sister's cat ran away," says Michael, 6.
At age 6 or 66, the death of pets and loved ones will challenge us. If we don't have a strong sense of God's providence, we'll begin to question and doubt. Is there anyone who can understand what we consider to be the untimely death of a loved one? If God were to explain it to us, could we understand?
Tests from God often deal with matters we don't understand. An inscription on a T-shirt someone gave me reads, "God is good all the time." Faith in a good God allows us to pierce the veil into an unseen realm where God is interweaving people and circumstances to accomplish his purpose. Everything that happens is not good, but that doesn't stop God from accomplishing his purpose in our lives when we trust him.
Even though God has revealed himself to us through the Bible, everyone will face circumstances and losses that might be described as looking in a foggy mirror (I Corinthians 13:12). We may have a vague idea of what God is doing, but we don't fully understand.
How much did Abraham understand when God told him at age 75 that he would make a great nation from him (Genesis 12:2)? Do you think Abraham might have wondered when God was going to get started?
Abraham's test involved waiting. Like so many of us, he grew impatient. Abraham and Sarah developed their own plan for helping God deliver on his promise. Sarah suggested Abraham have a son by her servant, Hagar. God wasn't impressed.
Abraham didn't pass every test, but he learned to trust God. Once more, he heard the voice of God. God told him to take his son to the land of Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering.
Think about this: Abraham learned to trust God so perfectly that he believed God could raise his son from the dead to keep his promise (Hebrews 11:17-19).
Memorize this truth: "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience" (James 1:2-3).
Ask this question: Can you think of ways God might bless you through testing?
COPYRIGHT 2021 CAREY KINSOLVING