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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 48 : Receive God's Power | Day 333

Increase Power Through Testing!

After Jesus was baptized by John, He was "full of the Holy Ghost" and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for testing. Christ stood firm against Satan's temptations by responding to each one with the Word of God. After passing these tests, He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit and “there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.” (See Luke 4:1-14.) This same sequence of filling, testing, and receiving increased power of the Spirit is evident throughout the New Testament and can take place in our lives as well.

Our human tendency is to avoid pain, suffering, and trials. However, if we face these tests of faith by relying on God's grace, He will strengthen us through them, and we will experience a greater measure of His power in our lives. Therefore, by looking at difficulties from God's perspective, we can see that they are not intended to destroy us, but they are actually opportunities to have more of His power flowing through our lives! James revealed his understanding of this perspective when he wrote:

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers [various] temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).

We are told that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12). What types of tests can we expect God to lead us through in order to experience more of His power? God's testing includes:

  1. Fiery Trials: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice ...” (I Peter 4:12-13). Fire burns away the dross in our lives and makes our faith stronger. Paul suffered the loss of all things with joy so that he might know more of Christ. (See Philippians 3:7-10.)
  2. Infirmities: These are physical weaknesses that God designed into us or allows us to experience to remind us to call upon Him and rely upon His grace. “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (II Corinthians 12:9).
  3. Reproaches: These often come in the form of ridicule and reviling in response to our commitment to Christ and to the holiness that God's Spirit requires of us. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you ...” (I Peter 4:14).
  4. Tribulations: “... In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Tribulation includes great distress, grief, afflictions, and being crushed. We can rejoice in the midst of it, because tribulation produces patience, which results in experience, which leads to hope, which causes the love of God to be shed abroad in our hearts. (See Romans 5:3-5.)

What is our perspective of temptations, fiery trials, infirmities, reproaches, and tribulations? Do we see testing as part of God's work of purifying our souls and conforming us to the image of Christ? As we pass the tests that God brings into our lives by properly responding to them, we will experience an increased measure of the Holy Spirit's power in our lives.

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard