June 26, 2023

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin."

-Hebrews 4:15

When I first started riding, I decided to take the Motorcycle Safety Course.  If you have never taken this course, I genuinely recommend that you consider doing so.  If you live in Kentucky, I strongly recommend that you look up my friend Tim, over in Knott County!  Anyway, the safety course helps to prepare you for life on two wheels, even you guys on three wheels.  You learn how to handle the weight of a motorcycle, the physics involved in riding, slow speed maneuvers, obstacle avoidance, short distance stops, among countless other important techniques that will keep you safe on the road.  

At the end of the class there are two tests, one is a paper test and the other is a road safety test.  If you pass, you can get your motorcycle endorsement and you will also have developed useful skills that will serve you well in your time on the road.  But what I want to focus on today is the fact that you have to pass a test.  

In our lives, we face a broad variety of tests every single day of our lives.  The question is, are you prepared for those tests and are you prepared for the final exam?  I bet you didn’t realize there would be a final exam!  Here’s the thing about that last test, it is a pass/fail exam and you will know your results immediately.  The question is, will you hear “Well done my good and faithful servant,” or will you hear “depart from me for I never knew you.”  Just like any other test you have taken in school, the tests we encounter in life have a book that we must study and follow if we are to be successful.  I’m sure you know what that book is, but just in case you’re not completely positive, it is your Bible.  

Every single one of us faces trials in our lives, we battle temptation daily.  How we are prepared to handle those trials, those temptations, has a lot to do with how much time we have spent studying for the final exam.  In the first chapter of James, we find these words:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”

-James 1:2

Notice he doesn’t say, “If you meet trials of various kinds.” He says “when.”  It is going to happen. And, if you’re a Christian, or if you’re not a Christian; If you’re saved, if you’re lost; I can tell you one thing you can expect in life: difficulty. 

“Count it all joy.”  What could that possibly mean?  How can we find joy in the trials of life?  Trials have the potential of producing something good in us, and, for this reason, they are an opportunity for expressing joy. Knowing there is a bigger picture, we can consider trials as things to rejoice in. Even though joy is contrary to our normal reaction, James urges us to work on changing our attitude toward troubles from dread to positive expectation, faith, trust, and even joy.  

How many of us find it so easy to question God or to say, “why me?” when we encounter the trials and temptations of life?  Some may even be tempted to blame God, but there is something important to note.  Look at the 3rd and 4th verses in James chapter 1:

“For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

-James 1:3,4

These trials are tests, sent by God that produce a steadfastness within us, that cause us to stand strong in the face of adversity, to know that we have a redeemer who will not forsake us.  The other form of trials we face come in the daily temptations that we endure.  These are not from God, these temptations are of the devil.  Yes, God allows them to happen, but he also provides us with the means to overcome them.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

-1 Corinthians 10:13

God will not will permit us to be tempted beyond our ability and he will provide a way for us to escape the temptation.  Ultimately, it is all to draw us closer to Him and for His glory.  As I mentioned earlier, temptation will come to all of us.  Salvation does not preclude us from facing temptation.  Personally, I think salvation makes the temptation more prevalent in our lives, because the devil does not want to lose his grip on you. he devil starts working overtime because he is losing another.  I saw a shirt, at a Christian motorcycle shop in Mississippi, that is actually an old C.S. Lewis quote; “My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight.”

There is a way of escape from the temptation and the trials.  You’d better find it. It will be God’s way. It will not be in your strength. It is God who makes a way. We fail so often because we think we can do it on our own, we try it our way.

I’m here to tell you this much, God’s plan for us is to face the trials of life. God’s plan for us is to face the temptations of life—not to make excuses, for God is faithful, and God is there. And so, we are to face the temptation.

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