Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sometimes, It's Not God

I've had this discussion with other people, but don't think I've ever brought it up here.

Many times in our lives, when things get tough, we tend to tell ourselves, "God is testing me." or "God is just trying to make me stronger."

However, have you ever considered that perhaps God is not the one who is involved? I don't mean to say that He isn't there and we can't rely on Him, but there are examples in scripture where God let's Satan take hold of us in some way. The best example is probably Job.

But, consider this passage from the NT:

Luke 22:31- The Lord said, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat, but I prayed for you, that your faith wouldn't fail. You, when once you have turned again, establish your brothers."

Have you ever been "sifted" by Satan? Can you tell the difference? Is it any different than being tested by God? What do y'all think?


Jamison said...

That's good shizzle man...
Of course, if Satan does push something on us, I dont think it is wrong of us to say "Ah, God is testing me." Because I think that shows a good attitude and that sort of makes Satan ticked off because he is like "What??? No! I am trying to bring you down! Don't start giving God credit! Don't start GROWING becase of what I am doing! ARG!"

It is a way of saying "Get behind me Satan."

But yes, I think Satan sifts us. He roams the earth like a lion seeking whom is may devour. He has been given this power and freedom.

mullinz8 said...

I mentioned this in a post just today (from my last post about Hell) I think Satan tests us much more than God. In fact I think Satan almost serves a purpose for God in doing so. God has smote many a folk but always because those folks have fallen away, I believe that God is disappointed when he has done this but he has to do what he has to do.

In some cases I think we allow Satan to have more sway over us than we need to. Listening to a radio preach one day I heard a good example of this. He began by asking the audience to give opposites “Good?” “Bad.” “Light?” “Dark.” “Left?” “Right.” “God?” “Satan.” Wrong!

His point is that God is the Supreme Being and Satan is a lesser creation. Satan is a fallen angel and has only limited power over other creations. Obviously angles have a lot of power, all things considered, but not enough to do more than muck with us. It’s our choice to comply or rebel from evil intentions.

This is one of the points of my Hell posting. What are we doing to do to make sure we’re not overlooking something of supreme spiritual importance. Blaming God for all of our tests is wrong because I think there are many more instances where someone has fallen because of them being lost in sin rather than receiving condemnation from God actively testing them.

Jamison said...

To get even deeper, if everything is "Gods will", and anything that happens in "In Gods plan" then if I murder someone and we all assume something good weill come out of it, then was that murder "God's will?"

Is any sin we commit "Gods will?"

bigsip said...

Sin isn't God's will.

Free choice is. But, God can use us to do His will despite our weaknesses.

Just look at Judges or Daniel.

God used sinful people to do his will. Their sins were a wake-up call to God's people, just like sin is a wake-up call to us today.

As far as missing something of extreme spiritual significance is concerned, I think we miss stuff all the time.

But, if we stay tuned-in spiritually and don't let the world cloud our spiritual perception and reception, we can see and experience what God wants us to.

How do we do that? Same old answers: study, prayer, love, song, worship, etc.

mullinz8 said...

I think you missed out on something that I know is not a very hip coC thing and that’s testimony.

I enjoy hearing how people came to know Christ because everyone has a story but so few people know how to share it successfully.

This is one of the reasons I posted Hell thing. Yes we are supposed to read, sing, pray etc but there is a reason why we fellowship with one another and that’s to praise and share the good news. This guy, crack pot maybe, is sharing an experience that I did get something out of. First of all don’t buy a tie that comes with a shirt. Secondly, he’s motivated to tell people about God and salvation through Jesus. My story is far less crazy and I’m not out there hitting the bricks like he is. In this circumstance he’s an example to me to try and do something more with my life towards God.

He may be crazy but he’s sharing his beliefs to anyone who will listen when most of us, honestly now, won’t talk about God stuff to folks outside our circle.

It’s free will to talk about God and free will not to share but we’re responsible for those people too.

bigsip said...

Oh, I don't miss that one at all, my friend.

My opinion has been, i, and ever will be that our testimony is the most powerful tool we have in converting people and preaching to people.

The way it's delivered is a different story. Just like James said, "I'll show you my faith by what I do" I believe that the best testimony a Christian has is living a good life, being a God-loving, moral person, and showing contentment in every fashion.

Testimony, therefore, is something we should all share in one way or another...

Brewster said...

How do you tell the differnce? Could be god testing, could be him allowing satan to test. Does it really matter?

We are told to put on the full armor of God. Be prepared for whatever is out there boys.

To answer jamisons questions I think God can take our sinful actions and make them work out for the good.

Let's say you see a homeless man walking down the road. God's plan is for you to bath and feed him and find him a job. You decide to stab and kill him.

That's sin and not gods will. But god uses that action to change your heart with guilt and bring you to christianity. Or some other good thing.

God takes all the changes we make to his plan and works with it.

Jamison said...

"You decide to stab and kill him."

I am a horrible horrible man because I found the bluntness of this to be simply hilarious...

I was picturing myself along with the story, minding my own business and i see a homless man. Brew mentions God put him there for me to feed him. I picture myself pulling out some food. Then, it is actually a knife and I kill him. Dark humor.

thanks brew!

bigsip said...

"How do you tell the differnce? Could be god testing, could be him allowing satan to test. Does it really matter?"

I think it matters quite a bit.

For instance, if you're hitting a brick wall over something in your life and you keep going at it, claiming that God is testing you when it's really Satan, you're probably going the wrong direction.

What do you do?

I agree that we must be prepared, but we must also keep our hearts, minds, and eyes open to what's going on around us.

That brick wall might be there for Satan to use to bring you down. So, backing up, evaluating the obstacle, and making a sound, prayerful decision based on what you know to be right is imperative.

Knowing the difference and going with God is vitally important, I'd say.

bigsip said...

Another side of this is the fact that Satan tempts us with "good" things, too.

We might see a quick and easy way to make money that seems harmless enough and say, "This is a blessing from God!" when it very well may be a curse from Satan.

Jumping into situations like that, claiming they're from God is dangerous.

It's just another opportunity for prayerful and scriptural meditation.

Jamison said...

Aye, but perhpas God, the supreme being uses Satan to tempt us...?

bigsip said...

I don't think so.

But, I do believe that God does not restrain Satan from tempting us.

The Bible's pretty clear about God not tempting us.

James 1:13-14 Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God can't be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed.

bigsip said...

Also, consider the passage in the blog.

Satan had to ask God to sift Peter. He also had to ask God if he could go after Job.

But, God knew they could handle it.

I just wonder how many times Satan asks to sift us and God says, "Yes" or "No" depending on where we are spiritually.

Satan is really just a dog on a chain. He's only dangerous if you get too close.

bigsip said...

Here's Jesus talking about holding what Satan once held:

Rev 1:17-18 When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me, saying, "Don't be afraid. I am the first and the last, and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

Jesus took his power away. Satan has been chained and can only harm those who come to him.

It's comforting and scary.