“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
How many times have you heard people say “God did it to test me” or “God put it there to make me”? Why do we blame God when life happens? Is it true that God did it or did it come from another source?
The Devil Made Me Do It
Remember the phrase “The devil made me do it”? You will have temptations in life. There will be times when life will try your faith, your patience, and your tolerance. Unsavory thoughts will come to mind and the desire to do wrong will tug at you. Is all this of the devil?
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” ~ James 1:14
It's true that Satan tempted Jesus in Matthew 4:10. But then the devil left him. So when other times of testing came, it was not the devil that brought them. Sometimes it was the disciples that tried his patience.
“He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.” ~ Mark 9:19
So not everything that tests and tries us comes from the devil. Neither does he make us do anything as James 1:14 tells us.
So God Did It Then!
According to James 1:13, God will not tempt you with evil. Your faith will be tried at times. God is not putting tests and trials in your path to make you or shape you. Guess what? Sometimes life just happens! Some people say nothing happens by accident. That is a conundrum. A person may not have wanted to have an automobile accident, yet something took place that caused it. In this case, a person sets the process in motion that resulted in the accident taking place.
I believe that God has already acted and set processes in motion from the foundation of the world. Why? Because He declared the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). God is not busy placing obstacles in our way to see if we will overcome. Things happen in life that tries and tests us. He knew this and let us know it would.
There may be special times of testing that comes from Him, like Israel in the wilderness. He does not place traps and snares in our path. For Israel, these were special times of proving. They were to be God's ambassadors for the establishing of His kingdom in the earth. God wanted to give them the opportunity to prove they were up for the task.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” ~ 1 Peter 4:12-14
Peter's letter included a comforting reminder their trials, but by whom? The statement “If ye be reproached…” is part of the context. This reproach would come from their persecutors, not from God. Remember, man's sin nature is contrary to the things of God. And there are many who will mistreat you just because you call yourself a Christian.
Did You Know?
I will conclude this with some did you know facts. How many times can we find these words in scripture?
- Test – 0
- Testing – 0
- Trial – 6 (All were about trials of life or from men)
- Try You – 1 (See Fiery Trial above)
- Prove – 25 (God proving Israel, Israel proving God or man proving God, facts, themselves or each other)
And if you think John 6:6 is a challenge to this theory, think again! Jesus wanted to know how Phillip would respond to His question about feeding the multitude. This was after witnessing the miracles of healing. Would Phillip believe for another miracle? Or would what seems impossible be a limitation?
So let's stop blaming God for our times of testing. He wants to love us, not beat us up. Our parents don't put us through tests and trials all the time (not if they love us). Why would we think our loving Father would? And the devil never placed anyone's hand on a knife, gun, or controlled anyone's tongue. He never made anyone do anything. We do as we want. Free will, remember?