“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am” (Genesis 22:1). Unbelievable? God tempted His friend and follower. Not quite. God doesn’t tempt anyone (James 1: 13-14). He tests to prove us.
Any instructor knows one of the greatest motivational teaching tools and techniques available is to say, “That will be on the test!” Students perk up. Notebooks fly open. Pens are grasped. Notes are scribbled. Highlighters underline.
It was a test that God gave to Abraham, not a temptation to sin. God didn’t want Abraham’s life. (Or should I say, God didn’t want Abraham’s promised son’s life). He wanted Abraham’s heart. He wanted to prove what was already there. Without tests we wouldn’t know what we are made of. Without tests we wouldn’t know what God is made of.
What’s the difference between temptations, trials, tribulations, and tests? I will take a little peek at temptations, trials, and tests.
- Designed by Satan to draw us away from God.
- Comes from the flesh.
- Typically attacks a weak spot.
- Commonly come from within.
- Designed to bring out the worst in us.
- Usually money, sex, power. Girls, gold, and glory.
- Biblically divided:
- Lust of the flesh
- Lust of the eyes
- Pride of life
The bottom line: Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us.
Test or Trial:
- Usually test our strengths.
- Bring out the best in us.
- Usually come from outside/without.
- Designed by God to draw us closer to Himself.
- Regularly is a God-given opportunity for you to practice and test your spiritual relationship with God.
- Sent from God
- All of life is a test. Always being tested. God watches your responses (Rick Warren).
- Character is both developed and revealed by tests.
- True faith is tested.
- Trust is not necessarily spoken it is demonstrated.
Here’s the bottom line: God tests us to help bring out the best in us.
In the first few chapters of Job there is this conversation in heaven concerning him. He has no idea. In fact, you have no idea the conversations that may be going on in heaven about you.
We can pass the test, with flying colors, and get the gold star/seal just like Job (and Abraham): “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:10-12).
God’s test will bring out the best in us!
photo credit: Jim’s Wood Turning via photopin (license)