God allows tests not to defeat us but to strengthen us

Dear friend,

Tests come in all forms, don’t they?

We never know when they’ll come. We only know that they will come. Remember when Satan tested Jesus? Without so much as a crumb touching His tongue, Jesus had just spent 40 days and 40 nights in the barren wilderness of rocks and stones. Then, suddenly, Jesus heard, “Why don’t you turn this stone into a warm loaf of bread?”

Don’t think that wasn’t tough! Exhausted. Alone. Weak. Vulnerable. And mostly, starving. It doesn’t surprise us then that Jesus’ archenemy, with appealing charm, arrived right on time with a slippery test to see if this man truly is the Father’s Beloved Son clothed with the Spirit’s power (Matthew 3:16–17). 

That’s correct. Satan could not have cared less about bread. He struck right at the heart of the matter—Jesus’ very identity. But Jesus wanted intimacy with the Father more than food in His stomach. So, our Lord struck back with truth that undergirds everything He taught.

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)

We would all do well to let this simple truth guide us each time we’re targeted for a test. Never forget that Satan, armed with cruel hate, wants you to fail every test with a zero. He’s not like our favourite schoolteachers or affirming spiritual mentors. They want us to pass. They want us to soar. He wants us to crash and burn.

Like he did with Jesus, Satan will do anything he can to get you to doubt the Father’s tender love and sustaining power. Perhaps you have recently encountered a test. It may have brought you to an all-time low in your life—like this listener who recently wrote me, saying:

My faith has been shaken and tested. I just got divorced, and I’m trying my best to learn how to forgive and keep my faith.

If you are enduring a serious time of testing, turn to Jesus. Do what He did to combat Satan’s schemes. All three times, He quoted Scripture as a thunderous NO! to each serpentine proposal. While I explored and examined Jesus’ testing in Matthew 4:1–11, four promising principles became evident:

  1. When it comes to Satan, remember that he is a defeated enemy—so do not fear or be intimidated
  2. When it comes to sin, remember that you have a choice—so you do not have to yield to it and suffer the consequences
  3. When it comes to Scripture, remember that it is alive and powerful—so you must not hesitate to stand on it
  4. When it comes to the Saviour, remember that He is our shield and sustainer—so lean hard on Him instead of your own strength and understanding

Don’t fret the tests. God allows them in our lives not to defeat us but to strengthen help us pass with flying colours.

But there will be tests you will fail. When that happens, immediately call on Christ. He will fully forgive. He will then pick you up, brush you off, and put you back on your feet.

He’s always faithful to do so...just like He did for the shaken listener I mentioned earlier, who also wrote this:

Your words keep me in the light of Jesus, and I’m trying to do the same for my children. I get afraid at times because I’m not sure what the Lord wants from me or for me, but when I feel doubtful and I hear your sermons, I get hopeful!

His words inspire me to press on, week after week, proclaiming the Word of Truth to help people overcome Satan’s attacks. There is no other way to overcome them, just as there’s no other Name by which people can be saved.

If you feel the same spiritual conviction I feel, will you remember Insight for Living Canada as a part of your giving in February?

If you are serious about supporting us, consider enrolling as a Monthly Partner so that Insight for Living Canada can count on your financial assistance month after month. From coast to coast, we are proclaiming clear, accurate, practical biblical teaching all over the country. Why? Because Satan is attacking the truth all over Canada. Let your donation echo the same thunderous NO! voiced by Jesus when He withstood Satan years ago. Together, we can claim the victory!

Pressing on in Christ’s strength,

Pastor Charles R. Swindol