TESTING THE GENUINENESS OF OUR FAITH

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Untested faith may be true faith, but it is sure to be small faith, and it is likely to remain little as long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: Tempests are her trainers, and bolts of lightning are her illuminators.

When a calm reigns on the sea, spread the sails as you will, the ship does not move to its harbor; for on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too. Let the winds rush and howl, and let the waters lift themselves, though the vessel may rock and her deck may be washed with waves and her mast may creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then that she makes headway toward her desired haven.

No flowers are as lovely a blue as those that grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam as brightly as those that glisten in the midnight sky; no water tastes as sweet as that which springs up in the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity.

Tested faith brings experience. You could not have believed your own weakness if you had not been compelled to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God’s strength if you had not been supported in the flood. Faith increases in quality, assurance, and intensity the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too.

Do not let this, however, discourage those who are young in faith. You will have trials enough without seeking them: The full portion will be measured out to you in due course.

Meanwhile, if you cannot yet claim the result of long experience, thank God for what grace you have; praise Him for that degree of holy confidence you have now attained: Walk according to that rule, and you will still have more and more of the blessing of God, until your faith will remove mountains and conquer impossibilities.

Morning and Evening, November 12, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

1 Peter 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Job 23:10-12 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Psalms 66:10-12 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

 

A CROSS TO CARRY

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Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

“Prayer is the best practical remedy that we can use in time of trouble. We see that Christ Himself prayed, when His soul was sorrowful. All true Christians ought to do the same.

Trouble is a cup that all must drink in this world of sin. We are “born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” We cannot avoid it. Of all creatures, none is so vulnerable as man.
Our bodies,
our minds,
our families,
our business,
our friends —
are all so many doors through which affliction will come in. The holiest saints can claim no exemption from it. Like their Master, they are often “men of sorrow.”

But what is the first thing to be done in time of trouble? We must pray. Like Job, we must fall down and worship. Like Hezekiah, we must spread our matters before the Lord.

The first one we must turn to for help, must be our God. We must tell all our sorrow to our Father in Heaven. We must believe confidently that nothing is too trivial or minute to be laid before Him, so long as we do it with entire submission to His will. It is the mark of faith to keep nothing back from our best Friend. The thorn in the flesh shall either be removed — or grace to endure it will be given to us.”

— J C Ryle

All the children of God have a cross to carry. They have trials, troubles, and afflictions to go through for the Gospel’s sake. They have . . .
trials from the world,
trials from the flesh,
trials from the devil.

They have trials from relations and friends — hard words, hard conduct, and hard judgment.

They have trials in the matter of character — slander, misrepresentation, mockery, suggestion of false motives — all these often rain thick upon them.

They have trials from their own hearts.

They have each generally their own thorn in the flesh, which is their worst foe.

This is the experience of the children of God. Some of them suffer more — and some less. Some of them suffer in one way — and some in another. God measures out their portions like a wise physician, and cannot err. But never, I believe, was there one child of God, who reached Heaven without a cross!”

— J C Ryle

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Psalms 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Psalms 86:7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.

Psalms 142:2 I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

THE HEAVY FOG OF TRIBULATION

“Satan will try to draw you off your steadfast course to heaven in still another way – by the presence of circumstances you cannot understand. With them Satan argues against God’s love, and for your soul. First, (by God’s permission) he pillaged Job’s earthly possessions, and then fell to work on his spiritual estate. He used every circumstance and everybody at his disposal. He had Job’s wife blame God; he had Job’s friends condemn the man himself. Satan convinced them all – except Job – that an afflicted condition and a state of grace could not live together in the same house.

Here is a timely warning when you find your soul adrift in a heavy fog of tribulation: Neither accuse God foolishly of your enemy’s mischief, nor charge yourself with belonging to the enemy. God can chart a straight course in the worst storm. He can be righteous when He uses wicked instruments, and gracious when He dispenses harsh providences. Do not over-react to changes in your temporal estate. Christ told us to expect some rough sailing before we reach heaven’s shore.”

— William Gurnall

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.