We talk much about the trials and afflictions we face in the Christian walk. We bemoan the intensity and shutter from the thought of some of the painful experiences we have walked through. We long for the reality of those spacious places that the Word says are there for us. But I wonder if sometimes we understand how to recognise the pasture land when we are in it. Have you ever come to the place in a particularly painful trial and realized that you passed the test? Or, do you let the devil steal the joy of that knowledge because you are looking at your weaknesses that were exposed yet once again, instead of praising God for His keeping power. One will leave you dejected, yet one will lead to sitting in the meadow looking up at the Son.
I have come to realize something – for those who really love God, Satan is the Lord’s buffeting tool to hone us – not harm us. God does not tempt us, but he does allow the testing. If we are truly seeking after Jesus with all of our heart, the devil will be allowed to come at us. Will he bring ridicule and condemnation? Yes, because thats the way he operates. Will he tempt us to give in to our particular fleshly battle? Yes, because that is his nature and there is no mercy in him. However, when you start looking at these battles as God’s training ground for the ministry that He has for you – you have already won the fight!
What is it that gets us that passing grade? Is it our perfect performance in subduing our flesh and emotions during it all? No, although the more we pass the test, the more victory we will have in those areas. Is it the ability to recognize the attack and ward it off before it ever lands? No, although there certainly are pitfalls that we can learn to avoid.
I believe it’s this – that no matter how bruised and knicked we become in the scuffle we are able to say with every fiber of our being that, “No matter what you throw at me, Devil, I am who my Father says that I am! I stand in His righteousness and in the power of His precious Holy Spirit! I am more than a conqueror because the shed blood at calvary has cleansed me from all unrighteousness! And because of that – I walk in freedom and joy.”
Im wondering if that spacious place isnt actually in our hearts as we come to the conclusion that the Lord’s keeping grace truly is just that…”Now to him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
God wants His children to walk in the authority that He has given each of us. “There is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ.” Your trials are not just hardships that you are forced to endure while here on this earth – they are the very tool God uses to fashion His character in you. Once you see them for what they are – it is much easier to pass the test because there is only one answer. And that answer is this…”I have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ.”
I wonder what would happen if we would start looking at our trials as ways that God will prove Himself victorious? “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2 NLT
I think when we get to that spacious place, we can rest in knowing that because of the keeping power of the Holy Spirit, we have passed the test. And there is joy in knowing that it is not by might (my strength), but by His Spirit because I know that if left up to me, I will fail, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…and that’s a reason to celebrate!