The big day has arrived. You're sitting in your chair, and in front of you lies the dreadful exam you've been preparing for. You've studied hard and are sure you know all the material. You're a bit nervous but you feel confidence in the truth you took time to learn. You open the test and suddenly, your mind goes blank. "I have no idea what the answer is!" "This is not like the problems I practiced! It's different!"
Ever been there? I have! It's a nerve-racking place, isn't it? You thought you knew all the material and told yourself you were ready for the test. But when it came down to it, when you were faced with the challenge, your stability suddenly became weak and crumbled.
Through recent experiences in my life, that have had an incredible effect on my heart and mind, I've realized that I struggle with this principle so greatly in regards to God.
Have you ever found yourself at a place where you knew the truths of God--in fact, you've heard them time and time again and could easily say that you believe and know them--but when the test came, and you were forced to really live out that faith and believe, you suddenly realized that it's a lot more difficult than you thought?
Believing in Jesus and what He says is one thing.
Following and genuinely trusting in His word is another.
I can say that I know full well the truths of Jesus, but I also admit that sometimes I have trouble actually following and trusting Him that they are all true and that He means them.
It's a surprising place to find yourself in, when you were so sure of yourself, to then realize how weak you really are. I've come to this understanding in my life over the past couple months. It's very easy to hear the lesson, to hear the truth. Just like they say, it's easy to talk the talk... but to walk the walk? To live out those truths? To pass the test when life throws lemons at you? Can I do that? Can YOU do that?
Technically, as sinners, we are capable of pretty much nothing other than sinning, and ultimately we must depend on Jesus and His profound strength to survive and continue on. But are you willing to rely on Jesus with all that you are? Are you willing to say "Jesus, I trust You, even though I'm scared/confused/frustrated/uncertain/in the dark."?
The one thing about difficulties is that they show true character. They show who you really are and what happens to you and your character when push comes to shove.
Is the hope of Jesus within you today? Can you remember, even in the darkness, that there is light and Jesus will bring you to it, that all you must do is trust in Him?
Perhaps things in life are going fairly well for you, that's great... Remember to praise Jesus! But what about the future? What about when that inevitable difficulty comes to you? Will you push through.... Or will you cave under the weight of uncertainty or of another emotion? We know that this is not God's will for us to carry this burden and in fact it's rather the devil who plants in those thoughts of fear and doubt as shown in Galatians 5..
"You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."
Yesterday I came across some very encouraging verses...
1 Corinthians 15:57-58
"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
James 1:2-4, 12
"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. ..... Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."
1 Peter 1: 6-7
"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
My challenge for you (and myself): Don't only believe in the truths of Jesus but FOLLOW them, and LIVE them out! If/when troubles in life come your way, do not be like the seed that lands on the rocky soil, and quickly withers. But be strong and courageous in Jesus. Know that there is light, there is hope, there is a future, and whatever you're facing is only a stepping stone to it. Then you may succeed in Christ and get your "A+" on the test! ;)