If God announced He has another trial that He would like us to take to determine if we are ready to move to the next spiritual level, would you volunteer? Who do you know that would want to take part? When we pass the trial, we move up to the next spiritual level.
So we agree, let's go for it. We raise our hands, showing we want to participate. But there is just one problem.. . We haven't passed the first trial yet. Of what good would it be to God to give us a new test when we haven't passed the first test?
I remember when I started to school in the first grade. It was a small school in rural Mississippi with grades 1 through 12. Each class had about 25 to 30 students. At the end of the school year, our teachers were free to make evaluations and to recommend whether a student was ready for the next grade.
Each student had to show that he/she could rise to the challenges that would come with the next higher grade. When a student did not show he/she had passed, he/she was held back to repeat the grade. Only after the student showed his/her ability to pass the final exam did they move to the next higher grade.
I believe God works in a similar way with Christians. He provides us with tests or trials in our Christian walk. When we show our faithfulness to God and can successfully handle a trial, God gives us a passing grade. The way to know when we have passed or failed by experiencing a new trial from God. Failure means we get to repeat the trial again. God's pathway is a training path.
As long as we keep repeating the same trials in our lives, we are not growing as God would have us grow. God is a loving and kind God. He keeps us in first grade until we have learned the lessons presented and we have demonstrated that we can handle new and more challenging tests/trials. Following God's pathway lead to greater service.
For years, I kept finding myself in the same old problem (trial). I experienced it many times. The same old situation just kept reappearing in my life. I did not know it at the time, but God was testing me and I kept failing. So God, in His mercy and grace, kept me in the same grade to repeat the same lesson again and again until I had learned the lesson and only then was I able to move forward.
God desires we be faithful and rely on Him. Once we acknowledge we need God's help and ask for His help, we make progress in our spiritual life and God can use us to accomplish His will and His purpose for our lives.
It is a great compliment to be given a new trial by God. It means that we have passed the test and God sees we are ready for greater service. He sees us progressing along His path and growing in our spiritual walk. God travels with us as we travel God's pathway.
Our challenge as Christians is to avoid the detours along God's pathway. The side road may look appealing and attractive, but if it is not God's path, it is dangerous and treacherous. It is a trap set by Satan to nudge us off our path of serving God. Satan sells the sizzle. He says, "If you will take this lovely detour, you will bypass God's next trial." Looks pretty good and sounds very tempting.
James said he considered it a joy when trials came into his life. Trials are opportunities to reset and refocus our faith on Jesus Christ. . . be patient and endure. He held on tightly to Christ and continued to rejoice and to endure, knowing that God was working in him and transforming him into the person God wanted him to be (James 1:1-2).
God wants us to trust Him. Put our faith in Him, trust in Him, and continue along the path He has laid out for us.
God wants to use us for His glory and to use us in the greatest way possible. He will not load us down with a burden we cannot carry. When God passes us to the second grade, He knows we can handle the second grade.
This principle holds true for Christians, whether we are in the second grade or 10th grade or even in one of God's advanced programs.
Do you know a person who serves God that does not have challenges? Paul told us in the Book of Romans, "we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was sent to us by God (Romans 5: 3-5).
A growing Christian will face adversity. Adversity prepares us for the next opportunity God gives us.
God showed Joseph in his dreams that one day he would be a highly respected person and that ever his family would bow to him. God chose Joseph.
But this did not stop Joseph from facing adversity. Joseph's brothers threw him into a pit, then sold him into slavery to the Ishmaelite's and taken to Egypt. Potiphar's wife falsely accused Joseph and had him thrown into prison for two years. Joseph remained faithful to God. He later became Prime Minister of all of Egypt.
Likewise, the Christian that only wants to get by will only get by. If you don't want to go into the second grade, God will honor your decision. He will not force you into greater service than you will accept.
Think about your relationship with God. Are you pleased with where you are with God? Or do you feel God wants you to stretch your talents to do more for Him?
It is your path with God. You get to choose. First, you can go in circles where you keep coming back to the same place and continue to repeat the same old problems. This happens when we go it alone.
Second, it could be straight and flat where not much changes from day to day and year to year. There is not much Christian growth. Know anyone like this?
Finally, maybe your Christian path has an incline to it. . . a spiritual growth incline. Inclines are opportunities to grow in faith and reliance on God. They are the trials to greater service for God. They show you are on His path and you are growing and becoming what He desires you to be.
All our paths differ. At times, the path will have a slight incline, followed by a plateau. Then, at other times, the incline will be steep, showing a greater challenge or trial. The steeper trials require us have to cling to God and rely on Him.
So when you hear God asking for volunteers for trials, sign up. Ask God for help and He will be with you as you walk along the pathway to greater faith and greater service for Him. His rewards are never disappointing.
When we grow close to God and we experience His fellowship, it is the most wonderful feeling in the world. When we feel the presence of God, we experience joy in our hearts, and we do not want this joy to go away.