Written by His Grace,

Kevin K. OíConnor 

Jan. 21, 2004

 

Main thought: to examine how trials cause our faith to shine the brightest

 

The Test of Trueness

 

Have you ever noticed how often things appear one way but are actually something totally different? For example, cubic zirconia verses diamonds, or foolís gold verses real gold. It seems like anything of beauty and of a desirable quality always has something out there to mimic it. Itís the same way with the heart of man. Show us God and give us His Ten Commandments which are the purest form of expression of Who He is next to His Son and weíll go to incredible lengths to act in such a way to show that we know Him by the commandments we keep. Give mankind anything of value and youíll see we always comes up with a look alike. Give us life and weíll try to clone it and make it better, Give us the beauty of creation and weíll say that itís all evolved from some slime somewhere. We are so arrogant in our ignorance! And we wonder why thereís such things as tests of fire for things such as precious gems and minerals or tests of trials and tribulations for the heart of man. If it wasnít for the test of trueness, the worth of many things would never be known.

 

Look at how Godís heart smiled at his servant Job; Job 1:8 The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered [Num 12:7; Josh 1:2, 7; Job 42:7, 8] My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, [Job 1:1] a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." (Whole Chapter: Job 1 In context: Job 1:7-9) A man that God knew had a depth of character that went deeper than skin deep, so much so that He even allowed the enemy to take away his health to reflect the inner beauty of Faith that resided there. And then, there was another who had all of the outward actions down but lacked the inner beauty of Job; Matthew 19:16-21    16   (15) And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain (16) eternal life?" 17 And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but (17) if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." 18   Then he said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "(18) YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; 19   (19) HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and (20) YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 20   The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?" 21   Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and (21) sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have (22) treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." Notice how almost proudly and quickly he was able to respond to Christ, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?" And then Christís response was beyond the letter of the law to the spirit of it when He responded "If you wish to be complete, go and (21) sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have (22) treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." Notice that the Ten Commandments donít say that verbatim, but for those who look beyond the surface of a thing, it actually does. Also notice how the man that lived by the letter of the law and not the Spirit knew that he had yet to obtain eternal life. 2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us adequate as [1 Cor 3:5] servants of a [Jer 31:31; Luke 22:20] new covenant, not of [Rom 2:29] the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but [John 6:63; Rom 7:6] the Spirit gives life. (Whole Chapter: 2 Corinthians 3 In context: 2 Corinthians 3:5-7)

 

Take an ordinary flash light and place it in a somewhat dark room and it appears somewhat brilliant. But, take that same light and place in a totally dark room and that lightís brilliance seems to grow tenfold. Why because of its surroundings. It seems like the Faith that God creates in our lives has its greatest brilliance during some of lifeís greatest trials and tribulations that we face. How selfish and foolish we are to think that life revolves around us. We are not God and the breath of life we breathe does not originate from us but from Him. All things were made by Him and for Him and yet, we act when trials and tribulations come our way that we should be above that or that God is angry with us. Every breath we breathe is not ours to claim as our own.Many times God is glorified more by allowing tribulations to come our way so that our faith can soar above them and give Him the glory amidst of them. All of a sudden, the ordinary flashlight of our faith becomes a lighthouse-glaring beacon proclaiming that our faith does not rest in the comfort of our health or our finances, but in the unshakable character of God! Some Christians exclaim with joy the freedom that they have from sickness, disease or financial troubles, I say bring them on if it means me bringing Him more glory amidst of them! Another good verse that proclaims what is in my spirit to say is 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore [Matt 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14; James 4:10] humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (Whole Chapter: 1 Peter 5 In context: 1 Peter 5:5-7) This is exactly what Job did when trials were laid upon him. Look at what he said in Job 1: 20   Then Job arose and (26) tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21   He said, "(27) Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The (28) LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." 22   (29) Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

 

God Bless our Brother Job who could look beyond his comfort and realize that God is God and his physical wellbeing or the lack thereof did not and would not diminish that fact in his heart. Give me a person of faith who knows how to offer up praises while his or her body is racked with disease any day than one who is spouting how he or she is free from pain and suffering and shouting praises to God. How very short sighted weíve grown in this Blessed nation called America to think that freedom from hardship means a right standing with God. Oh how our love and passion for Christ has grown fat and flabby instead of hard and beautiful; James 1:2-3 2   (7) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter (8) various trials, 3   knowing that (9) the testing of your (10) faith produces (11) endurance.

Show cross-references

  1. Matt 5:12; James 1:12; 5:11
  2. 1 Pet 1:6
  3. 1 Pet 1:7
  4. Heb 6:12
  5. Luke 21:19

 

And, instead of seeing trials and tribulations as an opportunity to glorify God, we find ourselves whining and crying to God to deliver us instead of learning how to grow and glorify Him amidst of them; 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore [Matt 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14; James 4:10] humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (Whole Chapter: 1 Peter 5 In context: 1 Peter 5:5-7) The Israelites didnít have to wander around in the wilderness for forty years. I believe that they were made to due to their lack of learning how to glorify God amidst their needs. Job knew how to give thanks amidst his trials. Everyone who professes Christ would do well to look at the heart of Job and learn from our blessed brother the joy of faith over feeling and worship over wealth. Some people take their pride in the lack of the trials and tribulations that they have to face, and yet Paul said when he was weak, Christ was made the stronger through them; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Heavenly Father, thank you for the refinerís fire that You allow to come into our lives so that You may be glorified the more. Teach us to be supple in Your hands and to refrain from being resistant to your heartís desire to ever transform us into the image of Your Son. In Jesus Glorious Name, Amen.

 

 

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