In our daily meditations, we are looking at Scriptures that enlighten us about how God tests us to transform us. Sometimes our lives are full of burdens, and it can seem as if God is nowhere to be found. It can seem like He is letting men ride over our heads and laying burdens on our backs. Why would God allow these things to go on in the lives of His children? If you are a Christian, God views our testing as refining our character. Just as a metal sword made for combat was put through the fire, refined, and hammered on the anvil, in the same way, God allows for trials and difficulties to come to our lives so that we may grow spiritually through them.
10For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. 11You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. 12You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:10-12).
See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10).
We don't often see God's plan until twenty years later when we enjoy the fruits that come from the test or trial. We are often unaware of God's intents and purposes for our lives in the present. Our life experiences would make more sense if we could only look into the future and understand what God is shaping us to become.
What is the fruit of God’s testing? It is a tenderness of heart that leads to a more significant presence or anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the maturing of our character. Of course, this can result in other blessings in our lives and the lives of others too. God has a purpose and a plan for each of us. How do I know that? The mother of two of the disciples, James and John, asked if they could sit in the best positions in the Kingdom of God, on the right-hand and the left-hand side of Jesus. The Lord replied, saying that those places are for those who will endure the cup of suffering in the same way as Jesus would and did. Christ said to James and John:
"You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father" (Matthew 20:23).
What can we infer from this passage and several others? God knows what He is doing. John and James wanted the seats of honor on either side of Jesus, but were they ready to take the same cup of suffering that Jesus would take? To be great in the sight of God is by being a servant of all and serving others amid times of suffering. The way up is the way down. Christ must become greater, and we must become less important (John 3:30). God sees all who want to walk the cross road with Him and live like Christ. In the preparation and shaping of His people, the Lord prepares opportunities for His people to serve. He sees the end from the beginning and has a picture of the finished product of your life that He is making you become. Each of us are a product of the choices and responses to different trials God has prepared for you. When the cup of suffering is handed to you, will you choose to take the way of pain, or will you opt for the easy way out of the trial and compromise your faith?
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
What does the above Scripture say? First, it says God Himself is working on you, shaping you—that you are His workmanship. Secondly, it says that He created you to do works that God Himself, before the creation of the world, prepared in advance for you to do. Will you allow His testing and refining to shape and mold you into the person He created you to be? Lay your life down before Him today and sincerely ask Him to have His way in your life—you will never regret that decision! Keith Thomas
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