LIFE IS A SERIES OF TESTS - FOR YOUR BENEFIT ULTIMATELY
(By: Norm Rasmussen)
The title above pretty much sums up what life is really all about. Life is about being tested. However, please allow me if you will to give you a little greater understanding into this aspect of life. Once you catch a fuller glimpse of WHY this life is about being tested, you will never view life quite the same!
Are you aware that God is forming a 'super race' of people to rule with Him in eternity? You happen to be one of those people who can be a member of this 'super race', if you are not yet, but choose to be.
Nothing in this life can stop you from joining this 'super race' either. By the free-will you were given to believe what you want to believe, you can elect to join this 'super race', if you are willing to undergo the necessary training.
If you know anything about how rigorous the training is to become an elite U.S. Navy Seal special forces soldier, then you have a small glimpse into the price you'll have to pay to be a full-fledged member of God's 'super race.'
If you sign up to become a Navy Seal, the moment you step foot onto their 'training field,' the trainers have one primary purpose in mind: to provide for you every possible reason under the sun why you should quit. As quickly as the trainers can, they are trying to find out who will be the quitters, and who won't be the quitters. Once they have weeded out most of the quitters, then they can focus on the more important matter at hand: training the non-quitters.
Whether you realize it or not, God allowed you to be on this planet for at least two very important reasons:
One: To see whether you will choose to join God's elite 'super race' in the first place.
Two: Once you have joined God's 'super race', He wants to see whether you are going to quit, or refuse to quit, no matter how painful the training becomes.
Many people find reasons NOT to read the Holy Bible from beginning to end. For those who are daring and courageous and do read the Old and New Testament Holy Bible from beginning to end, interwoven throughout it are 'clues' and 'small glimpses' of this 'super race' God is building on this planet. Planet earth is God's recruiting center and training center.
In the future, this 'super race' of people will be fully engaged in joyous activity throughout eternity that even angels have yet to know fully of. There is speculation God is even keeping it secret from them in all that it fully entails, making them wait until "Christmas morning" before they get to witness the opening of this amazing gift.
From many, many long ages past, angels have been involved in major conflict with evil. A time is coming in eternity when conflict with evil will fully cease to exist for them. It is extremely difficult for even them to fully grasp the fact that a time is coming for both the 'super race' and for them, that instead of having to be so much engaged and consumed in helping combat evil, they will be fully engaged in creating joy for God, for other angels, and for God's 'super race' of former earthlings.
Is this all too good to be true? Mere "science fiction?" Not at all! It's going to happen! Guarantee it!
And so dear one, if you have already joined God's 'super race' down here, you are in training. You are being tried to see if you're going to quit. God is allowing the fire of adversity to come your way, for primarily ONE PURPOSE: To build more Christ-like character in you.
The highest demonstration of exhibiting Christ-like character can be summarized this way:
Discerning Spiritual TRUTH from Spiritual DECEPTION.
Disciplining oneself to OBEY Spiritual TRUTH at any and every cost.
Once you have decided that nothing is going to get you to quit allowing God to build more Christ-like character in you through suffering, now comes the more rigorous training. Now you are being made into the likeness of the most fierce warrior and the most respected leader known throughout all Creation. Now you are being put through trial after trial after trial, often-times more painful than what you think you can take endure, to see how trusted you can be with greater responsibility. Your motives for joining this "super race" in the first place is going to be challenged over and over and over. The demands placed upon you to overcome the obstacles before you will seem at times to be totally cruel - inhumane - insane!
Promotion never comes in the U.S. Navy Seal program until you have been tested sufficiently to prove that you can be trusted. Your commanders and teammates need to know they can trust you, and you need to know which of them you can trust as well. Your instructors, your commanders, your teammates need to be absolutely convinced that you will give your life for the "cause" if forced to do so.
God is building His 'super race' by employing these very same leadership training disciplines. Trials, hardship - pain of all sorts, these are the disciplines that God employs as well in building His 'super race.'
Graduation Day for God's 'super race' does not come in this life, nor does it come once we die and enter heaven. When we die and go to heaven (IF we have joined God's 'super race' and haven't quit by then, of course), I assume training continues, though I can't build a sound Biblical case to prove so. Graduation Day comes sometime in the future. It comes once all evil spirits and evil humans have been locked up forever in the burning Lake of Fire. After that happens, THEN Graduation Day comes. Before that, only levels, or degrees, of reward and promotion will be granted.
Oh sure ... there will be times of relaxation before new levels of training comes our way. Sure there will be time for some vacation - some reprieve - to get our mind off the intensity of training, and to have our inner-being refreshed with enough peace and joy to motivate us to stay engaged in training as our future unfolds for what God has waiting for us on Graduation Day, and for the promotions that come even AFTER Graduation Day, which will be more thrilling than ever!
My hope is that from this moment forward, a spark has ignited in you to determine to first join God's 'super race.' And once that happens, if it hasn't happened already, you then determine never to quit. It doesn't mean you won't be tempted to want to quit, time and time again, but even when tempted and maybe even seem like you have given up, you'll listen to your teammates scream at you: 'C'mon. You can MAKE IT! You ARE going to make it!'
This much I've learned about good and evil, and why God still allows evil to prosper on this planet. Without some means for testing us, there is really no true means of measuring our character. Character growth in God's people is what God is more interested in than anything else in this life. God will not lavish His blessings on us at the expense of by-passing character growth in our life: You can take that to the bank.
When Jesus said in Matthew 19:30-31: "That many of the last shall be first, and many of the first shall be last," He is addressing character-growth issues to a great degree. It will be Christ-like character that God rewards the most in eternity, because Christ-like character exists for one purpose: To use everything in one's power to glorify his/her Creator. Those who understand the wisdom of allowing God to form and fashion Christ-like character in them are the wisest of all people on this planet, because Christ-like character is the ONLY "commodity" that God will trust His TRUE RICHES to through eternity. Satan is believed to be the most powerful angel God ever created, yet he ended up falling and hating God in the end because of one major character flaw: He was more driven about satisfying himself than he was driven to glorify his Creator. God has no eternal use for any of His created beings whose sole purpose for living is to truly love God with all their being, thereby purposing to glorify his/her Creator.
As Hiram Johnson so perceptively states in his insightful, wisdom-packed book: Tragic Redemption - "We know adversity builds character, but it also reveals it."
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Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)