July 13

Weighing in on Trials

Job 1:12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that [Job] has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”

Job 2:6 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, [Job] is in your hand, but spare his life.”

Personal story: I was on my way out of town, and had packed my bag to fall under the appropriate 50-pound weight limit imposed by the airline. When I arrived at the counter, I placed my bag confidently on the scale. I was shocked when the attendant brightly announced that it was 56 pounds, and she pointed to the number on the scale!

I looked up in shock, and then caught her devious smile. “Only kidding!”, she said. At first, I was happily surprised that she was just fooling. Then I was even more happily respectful of her ability to pull off the joke, judging me worthy of getting her humor and enjoying it. Then I looked to see how she pulled it off: She had put her thumb on the bag, weighing it down beyond the proper weight.

Right at that moment, I heard the inaudible but clear voice of the Lord: “This is what Satan does in real life.” I got it immediately.

There is a true and necessary weight to our trials in life. God has determined that our responsibilities and even our tests and trials have a specific weight. It is the weight that comes from His wisdom and is for our good. It is the perfect, appropriate weight for us, and its goal is to transform us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29 and II Corinthians 3:18) and to work for our good (Romans 8:28). It produces good fruit.

Yet we find other weights. That extra burden can lead to discouragement, even despair. It can appear to override all our resources. That extra weight finds its origins in the purposes of Satan to maintain the remnants of his own kingdom and to hurt those whom God loves (His children). It is given life (more weight) from the lies of the enemy. Its goal is bad fruit.

We need to take a second look at the trials of our lives. Yes, God is sovereign and He is allowing the trial, as He did with Job. But some of the weights we experience may well be from the enemy, and we need to learn to remove them. We may need to renounce the enemy’s lies and embrace God’s truths. We may need to repent of self-pity. We may need to seek forgiveness for sins we’ve committed in the trial.

Take a look at the fruit of your current trial. Yes, God will have His way ultimately, and He will work it all together for good. But where there is anger, judgment, depression or discouragement, there is an added weight. We may not be able to remove the trial, but with God’s wisdom and guidance, we may be able to lighten it by removing Satan’s thumb.

Prayer: Lord, help me to discern what is of You and what is from the enemy in my trials. Help me not to accept weights that are from my enemy. Help me to recognize bad fruit and how to remove it at its root.

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