The word of God calls our ‘wilderness experiences’ a time of testing and trials. Although the term and experience of trials have a negative connotation, they are actually a character building exercise. God only wants us to trust Him through it all. The children of Israel were in the wilderness for forty years, yet Jesus had a wilderness experience for forty days. What differentiated Jesus experience from the Israelites was Jesus used the word at every challenge; whereas, the children of Israel couldn’t progress any further due to their unbelief. At every interval, Jesus said, “it is written.” He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, yet He came out of the wilderness in the “power” of the Spirit. (Luke 4:1, 14)
God allows the winds of adversity to blow in our lives to shape mold and fashion us into His image and His likeness. For example, you can’t pray and receive patience. Patience must be exercised to develop it. We have our fruit to holiness, but our fruit is not all developed yet. In order to be quick to demonstrate love, peace, self-control, forgiveness, God allows predicaments to force us to either trust Him, or never graduate to another level of Christ- likeness.
Everything God does is because He loves us and wants us to experience the fullness of His grace. It is a wonderful experience to be able to walk above the raging seas of life. As the winds beat vehemently against our houses (lives), we stand like trees planted by the rivers of water, utterly impervious.
The next generation of the children of Israel had not known any of the wars, neither were they tested in the fashion of their forefathers. God brought them into the Promised Land and immediately tested them. It was so they could learn to trust Him, and win over the challenges to come.
We must exercise the fruit of the Spirit in order to grow. Spouses, children, church members, supervisors etc., all help us grow when we allow our garden to be cultivated. No tree enjoys the pruning of winter, yet come spring, it produces a bigger harvest than before. I’ve always said, “the problem is not the problem, we are.” Whether we live or die, spouses can be contrary, money can be short, what we wish would change never does, then what! If after twenty years you’re still bothered by the thing, it is proof that you are the problem and you need more Christ in you, the only hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)
A good way to prepare and prevail in trials is by declaring God’s word over our lives.
I have a peace that surpasses all understanding. I have joy inexpressible and full of glory. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am a chosen generation, a holy nation, brought from darkness to His marvelous light. I am His special treasure. I triumph over all things through Christ Jesus. Enemies come one way but they must flee seven ways. I am blessed and highly favored. No weapon formed against me will ever prosper and the tongues that rise up against me in judgment, I condemn and declare them lies.
James said, “Rejoice when trials come.” Rejoice means throw a party. Hold your hands in the air, and wave them like you just don’t care, because these trials produce character. No cross, no crown! So the next time you find yourself “goin through”– say, “God you’re making a BAD man/woman out of me.” Only trust Him. If God be for us, who would dare be against us…………..peace
Pastor Anthony E. Blackman