What is the difference between trials and temptations?
Experiencing trials in our walk with Christ is vital to our development in becoming mature, godly men and women. Without hardship how would we learn to lean on The Lord's strength or even desire to lean on Him at all? How would we measure His goodness? His grace? Trials, although unpleasant-give me the opportunity to persevere, to grow and to overcome my weaknesses through Christ's deliverance. Temptations similarly strengthen our relationship with God for we have the ability to call on His name and trust in His power. Neither are fun - Trust - but both are necessary as well as encouraging.
Yes. We are called to rejoice in the face of trials because we know that The Lord has a plan and is changing, growing, maturing us for His perfect purpose.
Can I be honest? I've always hated that. "Have more faith," they say. "Pray more," they say. Although people (including me) don't always have the right words to say to those facing hardship I'd like to think their hearts were in the right place...when they said the off-putting, "maybe you just need to pray more?" kind of thing. I know life is hard and I know that trials are trying... but I also know that I have learned a lot about how God cares for me. He cares enough to teach me lessons. If a parent didn't care about their child then they would not bother with punishments. Punishing kids is hard! They fight you and they push their will and their agenda and they cry and they don't understand why what they are doing is wrong....
It is done for our own good and done out of love. This too is God's position, to teach us because He loves us and some lessons are harder than others. I like how McGee explains how God does not test us with evil. I have made this mistake in the past and continue to hear others' claim temptation and trials to be one in the same. They are not. If a man loses his job due to no other reason besides the company's need to make cuts this would be considered a trial that The Lord has allowed to happen. God knows what is next for this man. God knows how this trial will teach and mold the man to be better and He will be transforming the man to be more like Christ, maturing him in his Christian walk and preparing him for his future. Trust that God knows what He is doing. A temptation however could result in a hardship as well. If a man loses the respect and support of his friends and family due to his poor decisions, say gambling their savings away, this would most definitely cause hardship. However this hardship was a result of his own sin. The temptation was always there.Temptation will ALWAYS be there. It is not a sin to be tempted. But the greed within his heart, longing for more, was what he gave into, causing him to act and to sin. It would be easy for the man to turn his anger on God during the fallout - but it was his own flesh that caused the hardship. He gave into temptation. The great thing about The Lord is that He is in the business of forgiving. He changes hearts and and gives us strength to turn our eyes away from the temptations that surround us. He is faithful and will never give up on you. He won't give up on me and I am thankful. When you fail and don't turn to The Lord in time, remember to call on Him and ask Him to help you out of the hole you dug yourself into. He will be there. Make sure your pride does not bury you alive. Suffering...by trials or by our own making...is no fun. My favorite thing I have ever read in regard to suffering was written by Oswald Chambers. Look it up! His devotional, My Utmost For His Highest - June 25th - Chambers writes about the importance of suffering and sorrow. He claims that "sorrow burns up a great amount of shallowness, but does not always make a man better." He goes on to explain that, "if a man has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, he has no time for you. [However] If you receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people." I know this to be true first hand. The hardship I faced in a breakup turned out to be an asset to my walk with The Lord and a tool to use when sharing my love for Jesus. I was able to connect with others who have felt similar pain, pain that if I hadn't experienced I'd likely not be as compassionate or as understanding. It was the best thing for me and I was able to help so many other young women see the good that God had coming for them. I am thankful for the suffering, even though I couldn't appreciate it at first.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."