God has You in His Gym working out!

Ever wondered what is going on in your life? Ever wondered if what you are going through is a trial or a temptation? Read on to discover why you are in God’s Gym…..There is a fundamental difference between a trial and a temptation. They can often feel the same and look the same, but they are not the same. The origin of trials and temptations and the function of each are radically different.

A temptation is a false hope offered to deny God. It is intended to cause harm.

God never tempts anyone. Temptation is a work of the world, the flesh and the Devil. James 1:13–14 tell us, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”

God is good, and while He allows evil to exist based on the choices of the angels and humans He created, He never induces or encourages sin. There are those who would say that God allows sin, but that is misleading. God allows choices to be made. He is a God of love who delights in the love of His creation. Love is a choice. With every decision there are options, and the option not to love God is the option to sin. Because God desires love, the option not to love God, to sin, is a reality.

Sin is choosing false hope. Satan hoped that being worshipped by the angels of heaven would make him happy. That was and is a false hope. Humanity was enticed from the beginning to doubt our one true God and for each person to become their own god determining their individual ideas of right from wrong. That desire to be a god is a false hope. We cannot find eternal meaning in created things.

When we are tempted, we are being offered to make a created thing the ultimate thing that we trust in to satisfy the eternal desire of our souls. Our flesh desires this. The world offers this. The Evil One encourages this. The origination of temptation is not God. Sin originates in us and around us by a dark being that is powerful and hates us.

A trial is different. A trial is a challenge that is given to grow our faith in God. It is intended for good.

God allows trials to enter into our lives. In order to strengthen our hope, God provides opportunities for us to exercise our faith, which is what a trial is. A trial is the opportunity to live by faith. James 1:2–3 tells us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

A trial is like a physical workout. Those who work out physically, force their bodies to use their muscles in taxing ways. They do this in order to grow their strength and endurance. With each workout the body gets more resilient.

A trial does the same thing. A trial forces a person to exercise faith. When faith is taxed and endures, the hope, joy and peace of that person grows steadfast.

Workouts and trials do not always feel good. There is often pain associated with them. There are often huge demands made in the activity of them. The harder the workout or trial, the more a person will have to exert themselves. But it is in exerting the physical muscles and the spiritual muscle of faith that a person is made stronger.

While the purpose of a temptation is evil, the purpose of a trial is good. Trials are meant to produce what is best in us. While the intent of each is not the same, the one thing a trial and a temptation share is the opportunity for an individual to grow in the knowledge of the grace of God and bring honor to Jesus in the power of His Spirit.

The Evil One will often use a trial to provide a temptation. In the Garden of Eden, God offered a trial of faith. He commanded Adam and Eve to obey and trust Him. Satan used this as an opportunity to tempt them. We know how that story ended.

Thankfully, God has the power to redeem failure. Even though we have often failed, God’s love has never ceased. For those who believe, God will forgive what we have done and renew our hope as we rely on Him to justify us and fortify us in the faith.

As we face various trials and temptations, it is vital that we remember that we are encountering something ordinary. Everyone faces these. The Good News is that Jesus faced these too and has overcome. We can find victory in both trials and temptations as we look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

— Shared with You by Rev. J. Pettus – senior pastor