Does God test/tempt us? I believe the answer to this question is a resounding “yes”! Paraphrasing Jesus, he said to “take up your cross daily and follow me.” (Lk 9:23 NAB)
Let me start with the definitions of test and tempt that I am referring to in this blog. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of test I am using for the purpose of this blog is “to put to test or proof” and for tempt is the obsolete definition, “to make trial of”.
I believe every trial that we experience is on some level a test from God, not that He causes us to have the trial, but that He uses it for our benefit. While we frequently experience negative consequences from trials, we can also learn from them and grow stronger because of these trials.
2 Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (Jas 1:2-3 NAB)
6 In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials,
7 so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1Pt 1:6-7 NAB)
Some trials that we experience are because of our own failings, short-comings, or sins but even these trials can bring us benefit.
20 The law entered in so that transgression might increase but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more,
21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 5:20-21 NAB)
Sometimes, I believe that God does test/tempt us for our sanctification.
25 Besides all this, let us give thanks to the Lord our God for putting us to the test as he did our ancestors.
26 Recall how he dealt with Abraham, and how he tested Isaac, and all that happened to Jacob in Syrian Mesopotamia while he was tending the flocks of Laban, his mother’s brother.
27 He has not tested us with fire, as he did them, to try their hearts, nor is he taking vengeance on us. But the Lord chastises those who are close to him in order to admonish them.” (Judith 8:25-27 NAB)
God can also test us by pruning to make us more fruitful. Read the book of Job in the Old Testament to read about Job’s trials and how he became more fruitful because he maintained his trust in God through the testing of his faith.
If God does not test us, why did Jesus add “Lead us not into temptation” or in another translation “Do not let us undergo the test” in The Lord’s Prayer?
These are just a few of the many examples cited in Scripture to show how our relationship with God requires testing. How else would we grow in knowledge and love of Him?
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Please feel free to comment on your own experiences of how God has tested you!