Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Trials vs Temptations

Do you know what the difference is between trials and temptations? This is a question all of us should ask ourselves now and then.

Trial- seems to be something that is externally affecting us and challenging us to change, die to self and or trust God in a deeper way. If we stay sure through the trial, we develop endurance and stronger faith that leads to completeness (perfect in God).

Temptation- and internal desire gone astray (I saw it described as a deformed desire) that leads to sin if followed through. This is something we can choose to walk (or flee) away from.

Trials lead to good results if we stay the course but temptation leads to disaster if we don't flee away! Now I need to remember to that!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Joy & Trials Part # 1

I have embarked on the study of James for the next few months and am already done in by the first 4 verses. (Not sure how I will ever make it through this book but I am being blown away by God's goodness already)

James 1:1-4 NASB
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The 1st words of James to consider it all joy when we fall into various trials is a concept that blows my mind. I know that we are "supposed" to do it as Christians but I never have felt like I could succeed at this. Then I started digging into the Greek words and God clarified for me and stupefied me all at the same time.
We are to consider it joy because these trials are things that we happen upon completely unplanned and unsought. So not consequences for sin or disobedience, trouble we chose to dive into. These trials, because they blind side us, are even tougher to be happy about because we can easily feel overwhelmed and unjustly burdened. They act as pirates in our lives stealing, robbing, taking and often leaving us destitute. But wait, James tells us to consider it joy when they catch up because... if we are operating in the Holy Spirit, they can't take anything of value from us and they only benefit us by growing our endurance and strength for the next time! So I need to change my view of trials to the spiritual, eternal one and not my tiny, short-sided temporal one.
Here is a great quote by Beth Moore
"You were simply on your journey, trying to get from here to there, doing your job, and minding your own business then it happened... you fell into the hands of robbers. You see, left alone, that's just what trials are; robbers. Takers.... Unless you're in Christ. Trials don't get to steal from followers of Christ unless we hand over the goods. "

Now that is some meat to chew on and I feel encouraged!