We often get perturbed losing our joy when we face challenges in life. And many a times we reckon these as falling to temptations or trials. As we see hovering clouds of failure, we start losing hope. Life tends to haunt, finding lesser reasons to live.
In the year 2009 during the global recession, I lost my lucrative job in a multinational company. Later contracted T.B. that made me bed-ridden for about 14 months. Being the sole-earner of the family, sensed a strong force pulling me down to nothingness, which at the moment made my inner being restless and to question.
While looking after my family with the resources getting emptied, pulling on with life seemed an uphill task! It was then one’s faith in Jesus gets tested, the apt reminder from the scriptures (Hebrews 11:1;Philippians 4:6-7) strengthened my faith muscles. The situation in the family began to change, I learnt to be content and began to focus on Him, “The author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2).
I would draw my spiritual strength from the Bible as I would perpetually read it. It was one of those days as I was reading the passage (James 1:2-4), “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and be complete, not lacking anything.”
These words were written to strengthen, encourage and console the first century church who were struggling through intense persecution.
The same verse reiterated in my mind. How can one be joyous while going through trials, those too of many kinds?
I would ask God to respond, getting more confused. Oh no! Am I being tempted or is this a trial?
Here my quest for comprehending the distinct demarcation of Trial and Temptation began.
God never tempts, (James 1:13-15), “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempts anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
God tests, but Satan tempts. The origins of temptations are comprehensively hidden in: the lust of the flesh; the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).
Satan would not tempt us without the prior permission of God (Job 1:12). Neither would God allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, as God is faithful (1 Corinthians 10:13). To be tempted is not sin, but yielding to temptation is. Thus it is said, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial.” Even Jesus was tempted thrice. Did he fail? No! He indeed didn’t!
“If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.”
Even, the father of Faith, Abraham was tested. And in its continuation in 1 Peter 1:7 confirms, “Trials have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire.”
And finally when Job was tested and He saw Jesus in God himself and acknowledged the positivity in becoming victorious in trials. “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
We are victorious, celebrating the victory on the cross, continue to live a hopeful life during difficult times.
It is indeed joyful to know that we are in Him during the trials and temptations. His Word and promises comfort us.
The positive consequence of persevering under trials are:
- Stability (in Faith and Spiritual Growth)
- Humility (The essence of Christ-Centred Life)
- Maturity (in the person of Christ)
- Conformity (in His own image – More God-like)
In Christ Jesus we find ourselves victorious in the moments of trials and temptations, how severe they may be. Let’s raise the banner of Jehovah Nissi!