By Patrick Hawthorne
“The Bible is the Word of God: supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in valor, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest, personal in application, inspired in totality. Read it through, write it down, pray it in, work it out, and then pass it on. Truly it is the Word of God. It brings into man the personality of God; it changes the man until he becomes the epistle of God. It transforms his mind, changes his character, takes him on from grace to grace, and gives him an inheritance in the Spirit. God comes in, dwells in, walks in, talks through, and sups with him.” (Smiths Wigglesworth (around 1920))
James believed it, wrote about it, and lived it. More than that, he understood the immense value of it. That of which I write is called testing and trials. For without trials, there is no growth; there is no testing of faith. It is through testing and trials that we enter the fiery furnace of affliction but exit pure having gone through the refining process. It is by trials and testing that we learn that we are nothing and God is everything. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
We are to put on the whole armor of God that we may stand against the fiery darts of the enemy. Yet, how shall we stand unless the armor is first tested? How can we be used by God if we have never practiced standing on His promises, practiced standing on His Word? It is to those who have never had trials and difficulties that God is unable to use. Jesus promised to not allow any man to be tested beyond what he is able to bear. How will he stand against the wiles of the devil unless he is made battle ready? He cannot. As such, his usefulness to the Kingdom will be very limited.
O’ how I wish I had learned this simple lesson so many years ago. I think of the wasted years I have fought this fiery testing instead of turning to my Heavenly Father and thanking Him for the opportunity for growth. How many wasted years I have spent whining and complaining instead of rejoicing at the opportunity to grow in strength by standing on the promises of God and when I had done all, to stand.
Did not our Master, Lord Jesus, declare that in the world we would have persecution? (John 16:33) Did He not declare that, if the world persecuted and hated Him, it would also persecute and hate those who follow after Him? (John 15:18-24).
I must warn you. Be careful! The Lord will never put on you something that is contrary to His Word. He will never entice you to fail (James 1:13). Beware lest you fall by the teachings of some. Our Heavenly Father will never conspire with the devil in an attempt to bring about your growth. He will never test your faith by putting on you something that Jesus came to abolish. I speak to those who teach, “God put this sickness upon me to teach me a lesson.” You, my dear friend are wrong! (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24; Psalm 103: 1-5; Matthew Chapter 8….)
No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy]. (1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP)