Thought- No tests mean we would have no testimony.
Scripture- “Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.” – Proverbs 22:17-18
Insight: In day 2 of learning to apply biblical principles to your daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider the purpose of tests and trials that God allows into our lives and how we can use them to learn valuable lessons. After all, if we never went through storms, trials and tests in our lives would we ever think we really need God? My experience is God allows trials and tests into our lives to: 1.draw us closer to Him, 2. deepen our faith and dependence on him, 3. teach us valuable lessons, 4. teach us what doesn’t work, and 5. humble us to the extent that we need to let go of any foolish pride. Often in the midst of severe tests and trials I have found myself saying “please Lord change these circumstances or change my circumstances,” but I have recently learned that often he says back to me “it is not your circumstances I am trying to change, but rather you.” Why does it take me so long to learn these lessons? But here’s the thing that gives me and hopefully you tremendous hope; God always uses our lessons learned during tests and trials for His higher purposes, and often it is our testimonies that derive from our harshest trials and tests that can lead others to saving faith in Christ. The hope is we never have to repeat the same test again but can apply it with wisdom to our lives to keep us on a better course. Here is one quick example from my life: I got caught up in the last Real Estate Bubble and decided that I was the new Donald Trump. So, I foolishly bought two properties in Arizona that were going to be my best investments ever. Well, not only did they both decline about 50% in value from where I bought them, but in the interim I had a lady I was renting to abandon 4 children in my home, ages 7-13 and that was a disaster that kept on giving. My other house had the back-sliding glass door stolen and the wildlife of Arizona decided to have a party in my house. To top it off, I was harassed by a HOA from hell that was sending me fines every week for 1” spurge weeds growing in my front yard. It was a 30-month nightmare and by the end of it, I was much poorer, humbled and defeated, but I learned how much I needed to depend on God and not myself to find my identity. God made it very clear that I was not only not the next Donald Trump, I was maybe the worst Real Estate Investor of all time.
Prayer: Lord, thanks that you love us enough to teach us valuable, although often painful, lessons about who we are so we can always draw closer to you. You are never jealous of us, but you are jealous for us and I am so grateful for that reckless love you show us. Without you Lord, we would have no hope at all. We praise you in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen!