Do you feel like you’re going through a time of testing in your life? Are you struggling with a situation that you’re tempted to simply avoid, ignore, or run away from because it’s too hard to face?
Jesus tells us in John 16:33 (AMPC) that in this world we will have tribulation and trials. But He follows it up with good news! He says, Be of good cheer…I have overcome the world.
The truth is we all go through hard times, and we can either trust God to help us deal with them or choose to give up. But if we give up, we won’t move forward in life and experience God’s best for us.
Sometimes God allows us to go through difficulties in this life because it’s during those times that we grow in our faith and develop more of the character of Christ. Trials reveal what we really believe and what’s really inside our hearts. They test us. And until we have to deal with a specific situation, we really don’t know what we would do.
James 1:2 says we should “consider it wholly joyful” when we experience a trial or face a temptation. Verse three goes on to say that “the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.”
I remember the days when I would get upset and complain whenever things didn’t go my way. I had no peace and was emotionally unstable. When I was tested by trials, they brought out the jealousy, confusion and negative attitudes that were in my heart.
But through the years, as I’ve studied the Word and learned how to trust God, I have developed more of the qualities and character of Christ in my life. I’m still a work in progress, but now I’m much more patient—even in the difficult times. But it was the trials I went through that helped get me to this point.
We can face our trials and tests with joy when we understand that it’s by going through them that we learn how to live in God’s peace, joy and wisdom—whatever our circumstances may be.
Here are a few tips to help you pass your tests…
1. Seek God’s Strength During Times of Temptation
During hard times, we can be tempted to revert back to old behavior, habit or addiction. For instance, I smoked for many years, and after I quit there was period of time when I would want a cigarette whenever I was upset or felt pressured by something.
But I love what 1 Corinthians 10:13 (AMPC) says: During temptation, God will [always] provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable, strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. When temptation comes, run to God! Ask Him to strengthen you in that area and help you to keep moving forward.
2. Focus on the Positive and Thank God for His Goodness
When times get tough, it’s easy to complain, be angry with God, or resent people who don’t have the same problems we have. However, these things will only keep us stuck where we are and affect our lives in a destructive way.
The antidote? Choose to praise God for the blessings in your life. Place your focus on Him and thank Him for His love and faithfulness. As you do, you will magnify the good…and push out the bad.
3. Trust God When You Don’t Have the Answers
At one time or another, all of us have probably thought, Why is this happening to me?! But instead of wondering why and feeling sorry for ourselves, we need to say, “Don’t panic…this is only a test!” Because here’s the truth: This too will pass, and we’ll get through it with more peace and stability if we’ll trust God to do what is best for us at the right time and in His way.
4. Wait on God’s Timing
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been tempted to make something happen on your own. Have you ever thought, I’m not going to put up with this anymore! I’m going to do something about this! But when we take matters into our own hands, we often delay or miss the blessing that God wants to give us. Instead, we need to be determined to trust God and wait on Him to work things out.
God loves you so much, and He has a great plan for your life. The next time you’re being tested, I encourage you to say, “God, I trust You. It doesn’t feel good, but I know You will work it out for my good.”
Every test you go through, you’ll get a little closer to God. And on the other side of it, you’ll thank Him for using it to make you more like Christ.