Monday, May 23, 2016

Tempting Versus Testing

Chuckle: "Statisticians are people who know that if you put a man's head in a sauna and his feet in a deep freeze, he will feel pretty good -- on average!"
Quote: "Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible!" –Unknown source  
"But he (God) knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lip; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread" (Job 23:10-12 NIV). "Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance . . . so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything" (James 1:2-4 NIV).
In the simplest terms, Satan tempts, God tests. The dictionary defines "test" this way. "An examination or trial to find out what something is like, what it contains, how good it is, etc." This non-Biblical definition gives us some insight into the reasons God allows His children to be tested. We find, in James 1:13, that God cannot be tempted and neither does He tempt anyone.
In Scripture the word translated "tempt" can also mean "test." In the New Testament, the root word translated "temptation" (peirazo) has two shades of meaning. When used to describe God's testing a person, it carries a positive intention to bring out the best in a person. However, when it refers to Satan's temptation, the word implies a desire to bring out the worst in a person. Temptation, as we understand its meaning, comes from within -- as a result of uncontrolled appetites and evil passions. Testing comes from temptation, or trial, from without. Even though temptation does not come from God, He does watch over his people while they endure it, and by it He tests them to strengthen and mature them in their faith.
Even Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. God, the Father did not tempt Him; Satan did. But God the Father allowed it as a means of testing Jesus' strength and resolve prior to His earthly ministry and journey to the cross. See Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus passed the test by not yielding to Satan's temptations.
God tests us not only by allowing us to undergo temptation, but tests us directly by his commands and actions. He tested Abraham's faith when He told him to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-12). The King James Version says God tempted Abraham. But the NIV, and other translations say God tested Abraham. How could a father be tempted to kill his own son? God had no intention of letting Abraham kill Isaac, but was testing Abraham's faith and his willingness to obey God no matter what the cost. God tested Abraham to develop his character.
Just as fire is used to extract pure precious metals from the dross, God refines us through difficult and mysterious circumstances. When tested, we can complain, or we can try to see how God is stretching us to develop our Christian character and make us more like Jesus.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home