I have been tested by God many times in my life. I believe all of us have, and we are continually tested by God in different situations. The tests that I face mainly challenges my character. The times when I have been most challenged and most tested are the times when i feel i have been treated unfair, especially by those whom I have some kind of a relationship with. At those times the test is almost unbearable, because the more you know a person, the more it hurts when they treat you bad. Especially in situations like that we find so many reasons why we don’t deserve it and how bad the other person is. The temptation I face most of the time in those situations, is to respond by the same selfish, unfair and greedy attitude, and repay evil with evil. Sometimes i also find excuses, and I think I will teach the other person something by responding the same way. But God wants us to respond differently.
How do you respond?
A test can make you or break you. It can mold you into the image God created you to, or it can bring destruction and darkness into your life and harm your character development if you give in to the temptation and respond selfishly.
James 1 says “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” Why? How can we rejoice when people treat us bad, when others get promoted at our cost, when people lie, backbite, gossip and make use of us for their own benefit? Because, as James continues: “the testing of your faith produces patience”.
My friend, the test you are going through is not the end of you. It’s an opportunity for you to grow, an opportunity to train up your love and patience for greater things to come. You are no alone, all of us go through the testing of our faith. But it is when we respond to in in the right spirit and attitude that we can boldly look upon it with joy, knowing that we are being molded and formed to be more like Christ, who is love.
James also teaches in verse 12: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him”
There is a reward and a blessing in endurance. We might think, if we look with our natural eyes, that we lose something by being subject to a godly character during these circumstances. If we bless those who curse us, won’t they take advantage of us? Yes, probably they will, but then we need to understand that they first took advantage of Jesus. He never deserved such a bad treatment from anyone, but in the middle of it He said “No one takes my life, but I give it freely” (John 10:18).
Are you a person who can freely give of what is yours, even when you feel you don’t have to, when there is no reason for it, when people don’t deserve it, even when you feel it is the other person who should give? God loves a cheerful giver, and a generous heart.
It is not as we think, that it is you and I who lose when we choose to bless someone else, not even while they are taking advantage of us. It is always the selfish ones who loose in the end, those who are unwilling to have a generous attitude. God rewards us according to the character development and the endurance we show through tests and trials. He who is truly Jesus-minded and eternity-minded will think about these things, and pursue a godly character through it all. Let us surrender into to the loving arms of Jesus, and let Him mold us into His image in all things.