Don’t short-circuit God’s plan for your life! But remember, sometimes that plan leads through pain.
The Bible tells us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV)
That means that in order for you to lack nothing, to be complete, and to be mature, you must face trials of many kinds.
Jesus gave us a picture of this early in His ministry when the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness where He was tempted for 40 days! And at the end of that, when He was hungry and weak, the devil hits Him with three temptations.
He says, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3) Jesus responds by quoting Deuteronomy when the children of Israel failed this very test of hunger: “It is written: ‘Man must not live on bread alone.’” (Luke 4:4).
Then the devil showed Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world and said, “just worship me and you will have authority over them all.”
Think about the power of that temptation! Jesus could have snapped His fingers and ended world hunger, He could have kept Hitler from being born, He could have wiped out genocide in an instant. He would have hadthe authority to do it. But He would have short-circuited God’s plan for Him to suffer on the cross, so He declared, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (Luke 4:8).
So the devil takes him to the highest spot of the temple and says, “jump…jump, and the angels will catch you.” Jesus had enough so He said, “It is said: ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’” (Luke 4:12)
When we are faced with pain, or the temptation to place ourselves on the throne of our lives, we have an example in Jesus. We have, as the author of Hebrews tells us, a high priest who understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do. But that’s not all. We are told He did not sin so we can boldly come to the throne of God where we will receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it the most (from Hebrews 4:15-16).
So what do we get out of this?
When we are faced with pain or when we are faced with the temptation to place ourselves on the throne of our lives, we have an example in Jesus. We have what the author of Hebrews called a high priest who understands our weaknesses for he has faced all the same things that we do, all the same temptaions we have faced, but that's not all!
We're told that Jesus did not sin so that we can come boldly to the throne of God where we will receive mercy and grace to help us when we are in times of need. So when you face pain and temptation, when you inevitably give up or give in, Jesus has got you because he has a plan for your life, a plan for you to lack nothing, to be complete, to be mature.
And the path to that maturity leads right through trials of many kinds.
So don't short-circuit that.
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