Summary: becoming God’s friend means living a life of faith. Becoming a main of faith is a process and this process includes temptations and trials.
TEMPTATIONS AND TRIALS: BECOMING A FRIEND OF GOD
Chippie the parakete --- Max Lucado story.
Owner was on the phone, vacuuming out bird cage. Accidently vacuumed bird. In a rush, she opend the vacuum cleaner up. Bird was covered in dust. Like any good owner decided to go and wash it off. Ran it under water. Seeing that it was wet. he got the hairdryer and you guessed it. Blew him dry. He never saw it coming.
When talking with the owner weeks later, the owner said, she doesn’t sing anymore. She just sits and stairs.
It’s not hard to see why is it. When you have been sucked in, washed up, and blown over, it’s enough to take the song out of any heart.
Some of you today, feel like Chippie. In life you feel as if you have been sucked in, washed up, and blown over. You have gone through so many difficulties that it seems that all you can do is sit and stare. You wonder in all of this: What is the Lord doing? I mean you chose to follow the Lord and gave your life to him, and now it seems that you have more problems than you started with? What is God up too? What is God doing?
Listen to me friend. What God is up to is this. God is not interested in stealing your song, but giving you a song. He is not interested in taking your joy but in giving you joy. He is not concerned about taking away your life, but giving you real life.
What God is up to is this. God is using the trials of this life to increase your faith in Him. The reason you are facing so many difficulties is so that you will learn to cling closer to God and to become more like him. He is purifying your faith.
Listen to me. Last week, we started a new series in the book of Genesis. We entitled it: ABRAHAM, THE FRIEND OF GOD. Last week, we saw that Abraham was called by God a friend of his. What better testimony can be given that when we pass off of this life, we can be called by God his friend. And we learned the secret of Abraham’s intimacy with God. He was called a friend of God, b/c he had faith in God. He was a man of God, b/c he was a man of faith. B/c of his faith he obeyed God, and he became one of God’s closest friends in this life.
The bible says that we can have a similar intimacy with God.
14 "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
15 "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
John 15:14-15 (NKJV)
The idea is that as our faith in God is increased, we will begin to obey God and as we obey God, we become the friends of God. And as we do so, God doesn’t withhold his will for our lives from us but shows us his perfect will for us. So we need to become the friends of God. And the way we do so is by obeying him. Believing in him. Becoming a person who walks by faith and not by sight.
Listen, the way that God increases our faith is to test and to try our faith. He takes us through trials to test us, to cleanse us, to purify us, to increase our faith in him and dependence upon him. To simply believe in Him.
J.I. Packer writes this-----Grace is God drawing sinners closer and closer to
himself. How does God in grace prosecute this purpose? Not by shielding us from assault by the world, the flesh, and the devil, nor by protecting us from burdensome and frustrating circumstances, not yet by shielding us from troubles created by our own temperament and psychology, but rather by exposing us to all these things, so as to overwhelm us with a sense of our own inadequacy and to drive us to cling to him more closely.
I love it. He sucks us in, wets us down, and blows us over so that we might
be drawn closer to him. To know his power and friendship more closely. Troubles and trials of our own making and of his are not meant to harm us, though they are painful, but to benefit us.
So God in his love turns up the heat. I like the picture that is presented in Malachi 3:2.
2 "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness.