James 1:13-15 KJV
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
I’m sure you have all heard it many times, just as I have. “God is just testing me!”. It implies that God has put a temptation or a test before us to see if we will pass this certain test, or to see if we will learn a lesson necessary for our growth as we go through this circumstance. It also implies that God will use any means to cause our growth in His kingdom. Any of these scenarios are wrong. God does not test us, tempt us, put trials upon us, or bring about bad circumstances so we will grow. We will touch on this in the next lesson, but God only gives good gifts. God does’t even consider anything evil – it is not in His vocabulary.
However, God will use every situation that comes into our life for our good. Every single time! No exceptions! Do you really believe that? I do – I not only believe it, but I know it is true. How do I know this? Because the word tells us so. You all know the verse. Romans 8:28 :
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
The key words in this verse are the first three. “And we know”. This is something we have to know, something that has to be so true to us that whenever a temptation or trial comes our way, we immediately know that God will use it for our good in the end, no matter how bad it looks. Our human nature tends to look at the worst case scenario, but God looks at what He can teach us through the situation and He goes about doing just that. if we encounter a financial problem, God will use it to teach us about integrity with our possessions. if it’s a family problem, God will use it to teach us about humility or servant-hood or perhaps holding our tongue. If it’s a problem with a co-worker, God will use it to teach us to love our neighbor, or to rejoice with those that rejoice. Whatever come sour way, God can use ti for our good. No exceptions!
James is very clear here where the temptations and tests come from – our own lusts. Of course, we do not want to admit that, and even in the end we will often blame someone else for our troubles. But it really all boils down to our own lusts – they get us in the most trouble. The chief culprit is pride. I believe pride causes every problem we have with other people, and many of the problems we have on our own. Now sickness can come without pride being involved, and it will, but will we handle the sickness with pride. Saying things like – “I can take care of myself!” “I’m OK, I don’t need to go to the doctor” “I prayed and God will heal me, I don’t need medicine” – all imply we know better – Pride! Even the last one about praying is prideful, because it signifies that God has to heal me – He has no choice! I beg your pardon!!!!! God will decide when and how you will be healed – your prayers please Him immensely, but He will work His timetable. Prayer can speed up the process, or, if you pray wrong, it can slow it down! This is true with any pray about any situation.
I find the best thing to do when I am going through a test or trial, or when I am facing temptation, is to bow before Almighty God and ask for mercy! Then I must acknowledge His mercy at all times – He is always working for my good. It doesn’t matter what comes, He is working for my good. It doesn’t matter how bad it gets, He is working for my good. We can look at example after example in the word of how God uses our circumstances to help us grow and minister to those around us. Consider these situations (if you’re not familiar, please read the verses listed):
Abraham tells Pharaoh His wife is His sister to avoid trouble – twice! Gen 12:19-29, Gen 20:1-18)
Joseph sold to the Midianites and taken to Egypt (Gen 37:1-18) To find out all that happened, read the rest of Genesis – quite a story!
Moses reluctant to do what God asks from the burning bush (Exodus 3)
Samson gives away the secret of his strength (Judges 16)
I could go on and on, but you get the point. All of these people trusted in their pride (in Josephs case t was the brothers that were prideful). But even though they got into trouble,God turned that trouble for good. He does every time! You are no exception! If you think you are, that’s pride!
Trials, tests and temptations come because of of our own lust or pride, but God will always bring good out of it if we trust Him to do so, and if we know that He will work all things for our good. This is why we can have joy in tribulation – yes I’m back to that! This is why I live in Proverbs 3:5-6. To me, these two verses are the ultimate expression of knowing that He is always there for me!
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.