“Do we really know the difference between a trial and a consequence in our lives?” My Daughter asked this question on Facebook the other day. So rather than answering the question as a Mom, let’s dig into God’s Word and see what He says.
According to The Message Bible (MSG) James 1:2-4 calls a trial “[Faith Under Pressure] Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
The word trial is also used with tests, tribulations, troubles and temptations. All of these are used in the context of completing a good work in you. The good news is that according to 1 Kings 11:39 “the trials won’t last forever.”
There are also the trials of judgment which God as the Righteous Judge convenes against those who disobey Him. John 16:8-11(MSG) “When he comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me (Jesus) is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world (Satan) is brought to trial and convicted.”
That is where consequences come in, as the result of our sins. Hebrews 9:27-28 (MSG) “Everyone has to die once, and then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when He next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet Him is, precisely, salvation.”
We all have stories of how we faced a trial or test and won a victory. We also have just as many stories of consequences of our sins. God’s Good News is that “If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
We don’t have to live with the stain of sin on our lives anymore. Yes, we may still have to live with the consequences of the sin but we are no longer held captive by it. Christ’s shed blood on the cross was enough to cover the sin of the whole world, past, present and future. Once we ask Christ into our life we are saved eternally. We turn 180 degrees away from our sin and start living and following Jesus as our living example.
If you need help with your decision to follow Christ may I suggest you find a solid Bible teaching church in your area? Check them out on the internet; look for their listed core values, mission statements, statement of belief or doctrinal statement. Make sure they include statements like:
Bible: We consider the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God and the basis of all our teaching.
Relevant: We communicate the timeless truths of the Bible so that our community can understand and respond.
Prayer: We commune with God to know Him intimately, to understand His purpose and to experience His peace.
Fellowship: We cultivate love and believe that intimacy and spiritual growth happen best in small groups.
Grace: We connect with people as they are and provide a safe place of restoration and spiritual growth.
Mercy: We care for those in need by extending a helping hand.
Serving: We consider others better than ourselves and serve them in love.
Outreach: We commit to reaching others for Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT:
(Church) will grow to be a church capable of planting daughter churches throughout (the area)
Loving: Love God. Love people.
Growing: Guide people toward spiritual maturity.
Serving: Provide opportunities for ministry and encourage every believer to use their spiritual gifts to serve God by serving people.
Used with permission of Calvary Baptist Church, Eau Claire, WI and Pastor John van Gorkom.
Once you have found a local church, and you think that this is where God wants you, arrange to meet the pastor if possible and ask any questions you may have. Basically you are interviewing churches to see if they are a fit for you. Finally, make sure the church has an uncompromising faithfulness to the True Gospel of Jesus Christ and it is boldly and proudly proclaimed.
When God has led you to the right church ask to become a member and serve the Lord wholeheartedly there. You will know you are in the right place if you continue to grow in your faith and walk with Christ and the people there will help you learn how to share Christ with others.
May God bless you as you learn to walk through your trials and mature in His Grace and may your consequences be few.