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Tests, Trials, and Tribulations

Tests, Trials and Tribulations

     The word “challenge”, nor any form of it, can be found in the KJV Bible.  But the idea is definitely found in God’s Word!   We often speak of the challenges we face in this life.  Challenge has several definitions.    One definition of “challenge” is: a call or summons to engage in any contest.   

      We know that according to 2Thessalonians 2:14, we have been called by the gospel.  Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.   This is our “summons” from God to become His child. This has to be our choice, and He has also warned in His Word that, when we become a part of the kingdom, if we are faithful, that suffering (tribulation, or trials) are part of what we can expect.  The Spirit had the apostle Paul write this to Timothy in 2Timothy 3:12.   Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution

      Persecution is a type of challenge as well.  Tests, trials and tribulations are some of the ways in which we are persecuted.   Natural disasters, sicknesses (viruses and such), also present challenges.     However, if and when we bring difficulties upon ourselves, we cannot call these “tribulations” or persecutions.   This is just our suffering as evildoers as 1Peter 4:15 tells us.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.   However, suffering for the cause of Christ is reason to glorify God as the following verse informs.  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.   (1Peter 4:16)

      It’s what we do when, in the face of tests, trials and tribulations that will affect our eternal destiny.   1Peter 4:19 is where we learn that we are to “commit” the keeping of our souls to God as we suffer for the cause for which Christ died on the cross.   Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

        Our faith is often tried.   This happens when temptations abound.  As we commit our souls to God, we must avail ourselves of what God offers us in His Word.   The “scattered abroad” were told in James 1:2-5 to use the tests, trials, and tribulations of this life to our benefit.   My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patienceBut let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

      The same type of “inspired” advice is offered to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, as the Spirit guided the pen of Peter in 1Peter 1:6-9.  It was sound advice then, and is sound today. This too, shows that our soul depends on our heeding the Word of God.  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 

       God’s people have always had to face difficulties, but God has also always given assurance that He will remember the promises He has made.   God’s Old Testament people Israel, were given this assurance in Deuteronomy 4:30-31.

When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice31 (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. 

      God’s covenant with Israel was for the purpose of bringing Christ to the world to provide the means for Salvation to whosoever will.     This means those who become a part of the kingdom for which Jesus died needn’t fear life’s trials, tribulations, or anything of that nature.    In Hebrews 13:5, those Christians (and Christians today) are given a divine guarantee, as well as instruction as to how to live their lives.   Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee

      We also have the assurance in Romans 8:35-39 that all the challenges of life are not sufficient to remove us from Christ’s love if we don’t allow it.   We can’t afford to allow tests, trials and tribulation to cause us to lose our soul.    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.        

                                       Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ          

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