reachingforGod
 
In Revelation 2:9, John tells the Church, "I know thy works, thy tribulation, and poverty." The Lord does test and try his people. Psalm 66:10 says, "Thou has tried us, as silver is tried." Psalm 11:5 says, "The Lord trieth the righteous." Everyone who follows Jesus is going to face afflictions. Psalm 34:19 says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous." 2 Corinthians 2:4 says, "Much affliction and anguish of heart with many tears" and Hebrews 11:37 and 10:32 describes saints who are "destitute, afflicted, and tormented" and "enduring a great fight of afflictions." Think about your own present ordeal or trial. Have you had doubt, fear, or anger as you endured it? Have you accused God of putting too much on you, or of placing you in your trial needlessly?

Have you been on the verge of giving up, thinking, "I've been faithful in prayer, in reading the Bible, and in going to church, but nothing is working."?

Or can you still look to heaven and say, "I know the Lord is good, and I'm going to trust him through this. I won't live in doubt."?

God's purpose behind our trials is not always a test. The truth is, not all of our trials are tests of faith. Sometimes the Lord is after something more when we're in the furnace of affliction. Indeed, the closer you walk with Christ, and the deeper your trials, the more he is working in you to accomplish something other than faith. Whenever our faith wavers, tests of faith will come. We will never be completely beyond such testing.

The Father is preparing a bride for his son, and he wants more from us in our trials than greater faith. This bride is going to be tried severely, and the love for the bridegroom will come through the fire. Her trust in him will be refined through fires, floods, and afflictions. These trials aren't a matter of testing her love and devotion, they're about refining a love that is already fully committed. His preparation of the bride requires that he do a supernatural work in you. Jesus' chosen bride must be consumed with a longing to be with her bridegroom. She has to be weaned from all other attractions. Everything you see is going to pass away as we know it, including the earth, moon, sun, and stars.

God is making these things anew (restoring new) where there are no fires, floods, devils, trials, or afflictions. Therefore, focus your eyes on Christ, and set your affections on spending eternity with him in the restored world. The enduring trials right now aren't testing, but training. We're being prepared (trained) for a world where there will be no pain, having a brand new body, one with the DNA of Christ himself.

I see multitudes of believing Christians who love overcoming faith, but have no longing to be with Jesus. Instead, they've set their eyes on the things of the world and how to obtain them. Such people don't want to hear about focusing on heaven or being weaned from the world. Such a message means an interruption from the "good life" they enjoy here.

When it comes to sufferings, trials, and affliction, most Christians don't abandon their faith, but they stop pursuing Jesus with their whole hearts, thinking, "I can't live under this kind of intensity. It seems the closer I get to Christ, the more I suffer (Selah). Isaiah 48:10 says, "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."

Church, wake up. You are not undone, as you think. The Lord is still your strength. So get up out of the dust of discouragement and sit down in the heavenly realm I have promised you. Shake yourself off and tell the flesh and the devil, "I am more than a conqueror through him who saved me." -- Isaiah 52:1-3, paraphrased).

It truly is time to shake off the heavy bands and lift up holy hands in praise to your redeemer. Amen! You are free, no matter what your trial, so be glad and rejoice, knowing that the fourth man is still in the fire with you.

Christ will reveal himself in your trial and the fire is going to burn off all the cords that bind you.

"Most likely you are not being tested but trained."

* Some notes adapted from the writings of David Wilkerson.

Ken Christian
Cafes for Christ
Romans 8:28


 


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