Recently, I heard another sermon on the lessons that God teaches us.
I don’t know how many more of these I can take.
It began with the preacher saying that God is using your circumstance to teach you a lesson.
Not surprisingly, he failed to cite even a single verse to support this statement.
There are many verses that do say that our faith will be tested, but does that mean that the junk we go through in our lives is automatically God testing us?
If God uses our circumstances to teach us something, then that means that the difficulty we find ourselves in would have to be part of God’s plan.
But is that true? Is God causing everything that happens in your life?
And how would we know what is from God and what isn’t?
We are believers, so let’s find out what the Bible has to say about it.
There Is An Enemy
The first thing to know is that Satan is the enemy. Every evil thing that has ever happened comes from him. He is known as the father of lies, the deceiver, and the accuser.
He is the chief rebel, and anything bad happening in our lives is a result of something we allowed him to do or influence in our lives.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy
2 Corinthians 2:11
In order to keep Satan from getting the upper hand over us; for we know what his plans are.
1 Peter 5:8
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
It should be easy to tell when he is involved. If you are having trouble with what Satan is and does, go look it up.
Once you know how to recognize Satan, you can decide if you still believe that God is causing every circumstance in your life.
Though many people disagree with this viewpoint, Jesus was the proof that we do have an enemy, and that we are responsible for fighting him on the earth.
The Bible says that Jesus was sent to destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3:
The one who commits sin is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works.
If you ever hope to grow spiritually, you have to know the difference between the works of God and the works of the devil.
God Is Only Good
We can see the perfect image of God in Jesus. Jesus only did what He saw the Father do, and only said what He heard the Father say.
Jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly.
Anything that gives life is of God.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life, and have it in abundance.
When God is working in your life, it will be good. He brings light and life to anything He touches. The confusing circumstances in your life are not a good place to look for God.
1 John 1:5
And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
God is always good, and faith is required to receive anything from Him. It’s the only way He is pleased with us. And faith is always your choice.
No one, even God, can make you believe what He says. But when you do, He will be pleased and your faith will be rewarded.
Now without faith, it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently search for him.
Notice the last part of that verse.
He rewards those who diligently search for Him.
Given the context of the verse, it would be fair to say that God only gives to those that diligently seek Him.
This proves that God isn’t involved in everything you go through just because you are a Christian. He only gets involved when we choose His ways and search for Him in faith.
The problem is we often assume that God is teaching us through our circumstances, but based on what?
The best thing to learn from your circumstances is when Satan is at work in your life. And we know how to recognize it.
Was something taken from you?
Did something die in your life?
Was there destruction involved?
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy
You have to fight against these attacks of the enemy, and Jesus gave you everything you need to be successful.
God isn’t trying to teach you something through tragedy and destruction. That’s not His will. He wants to keep you safe from these things.
Evil shall not come near you and disease shall not come near your dwellings.
1 John 5:18
We know that no one who is a child of God lives in sin, but God’s only Son keeps him, and the evil one cannot touch him.
But the person who listens to me will live safely and will be secure from the fear of evil.
The LORD will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life.
God does not allow evil things in our lives to teach us lessons. Sure, you can learn things from the trouble you have in life. And some of it can be beneficial.
But God is only moved by your faith.
God only works by faith
Faith is the only way to access the grace that has saved us, and it’s the only way God has access to our lives.
God doesn’t force us to have faith in Him, even though our souls are at stake.
So why would He work in your life without faith when He won’t even save your soul without your faith?
The best way to find the truth for anything we deal with is to look at Jesus. He is our example. He did only what the Father did, and said only what the Father said. We can be sure that the things He said and did were always from God.
And there were times Jesus couldn’t do any miracles because there was no faith among the people.
And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
That might seem shocking, but think about what I’m saying here.
If Jesus was hindered by a lack of faith in the people around Him, then how can He work in our lives without our faith and expectation in a specific situation?
Just as Jesus couldn’t work in people’s lives without faith while He was among them, He cannot work in our lives without faith.
Jesus made it very clear that people received according to their own faith, not his ability. He didn’t randomly choose who He wanted to heal. He only helped those that had faith to receive it.
And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
And Jesus said unto him, Receive your sight: your faith has saved you.
This still applies today. God is always looking for faith so He can show His goodness in that person’s life.
When Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those following Him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
If you say God is teaching you something, but you aren’t using faith, it’s not Him. You might assume it is, but assumption is not truth.
In order for God to be at work in our lives, we need to see goodness and things that give life. And it will always be the result of our faith.
If God was going to do anything in a person’s life without faith, it would be to make them get saved.
But He doesn’t do that. You are saved because you believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Likewise, you should live and learn by believing for what you need and receive it by faith.
And now, the same way you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, so continue to live in Him.
God doesn’t want you to go through heartbreak and tragedy to learn things. He is love, and He wants the best for us, like any good father.
Would you want your kids to go through pain and suffering so they learn something? NO!
You talk to them, teaching them to make good choices so they can avoid those things, right? That’s exactly what God does (or wants to do) with you.
The instruction and teaching of God will be the result of the faith you have in Him to give it to you.
How God Teaches Us
I have been a believer since I was very young. I heard hours and hours of preaching and teaching, and sure, I learned the basics of salvation and who Jesus was.
But I never developed spiritually until I started to believe for it in faith.
Anything I have ever learned from God came from the faith that I had on purpose to listen and hear the truth.
God only teaches us two ways – by His word and by His Spirit.
Anything else is questionable, and will not be based on truth. There is too much room for error in the circumstances of life to know it’s from God.
The things that happen in this earth are not based on truth. They are based on many other things, but not on the truth.
Think about God walking with Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Did God put Adam and Eve in the situation with the serpent to try and teach them something?
If God walked with them in the cool of the day and communed with them, then why not just talk to them to help them understand?
The fact is, God told them very clearly what not to do and they went straight out and did it anyway. The things that happened as a result were directly caused by their actions.
God wasn’t trying to teach them something. It wasn’t His will. They screwed up, and it was because they were deceived by the enemy.
God is never the problem.
He is a good Father and He will give to anyone that asks in faith. If you are in a bad situation right now, go to Him and ask for wisdom about where you are right now.
Ask Him to reveal what is Him and what is not Him, and believe that He will answer you and that you will see clearly what is going on.
Believe that you receive, and you will have what you say.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives liberally to all who ask, without criticism, and it will be given to him.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
The Holy Spirit is the Teacher
If you want to know the truth about God, you have to go to the source. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us through our hearts. That is how God will teach us.
Jesus knew we were going to need a lot of help to live the life he bought and paid for. He sent the Holy Spirit to be that helper. And one of the main things He does is to teach us.
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.
When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into the full truth. He won’t speak on his own. He will speak what he hears and will tell you about things to come.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
The Bible says that the Spirit will teach us all things. He will guide us by the inner witness.
Every believer has felt the witness when they first accepted Jesus. It’s that undeniable sense that you have been saved and you know it.
That’s the witness of the Holy Spirit. Your circumstances don’t show it, and you can’t see it.
But that’s how God teaches us.
Learn to be more sensitive to that witness, and you will begin to learn who God is and what He wants for your life.
God is not in the storms of life. He lives in us in the person of the Holy Spirit.
1 Kings 19:11-12
But the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice- a still, soft whisper.
Since your life is hidden with Christ, you won’t find God in your circumstances. You will only find Him when you seek Him by faith with your whole heart.
For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Even if you are saved, it takes effort to seek His guidance. You have to make the choice to walk by faith and train yourself to recognize when God is leading you by the Spirit.
And real faith is always paired with action.
In the same way, faith by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead.
The Devil Won’t Give Up
The devil will do anything he can to keep you from looking at him when bad things happen.
He wants you to blame God for everything that happens. He loves it when he causes you pain and you turn around and wrongly accuse God of doing it.
At that point, he has successfully deceived you.
That ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.
He will stop at nothing to trick you into thinking that God is behind everything. Be aware of the Spirit in you.
If something doesn’t sit right with you, don’t ignore it. That’s the Spirit telling you to stop and seek God’s direction.
Pray and ask God to show you the truth. Reach out in faith and look for the answer, and don’t let up until you get it.
Look for the witness in your spirit. And always test what you are hearing against the Word.
Don’t believe what you hear just because you hear it in church or on the radio.
2 Corinthians 11:14
And no wonder, for even satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
What you assume is God working in your life could very well be Satan disguised as something from God.
Be spiritually aware enough to recognize when something doesn’t line up with scripture.
Study these verses, search the Bible for further wisdom. Think about them, and get them buried in your heart so that when something happens, you immediately know in your spirit whether it is of God or not.
This is true spiritual discernment. The ability to know what is God and what isn’t.
God wants us to have success and to carry out the plans He has for us in this life, but the enemy will stop at nothing to keep us confused and questioning everything that happens.
Fight the good fight of faith, and be like Jesus, who went around destroying the works of the devil. You have been equipped with the same power to do the same thing in your life.
We know that even though we hear the truth, it doesn’t matter unless we do it. Start living this truth today, you can start with this prayer:
I know that you desire for me to walk by faith and that you sent Jesus so that I might have life, and have it abundantly.
I ask you for wisdom to identify the enemy’s attacks, and that you would teach me how to fight the good fight of faith.
I know that not everything that happens is you, but you promised that you would turn the thing the enemy meant to harm me and make it work to my benefit.
I believe I receive the understanding I need, and I make it a priority to be aware of the leadings of the Holy Spirit. I know you will always lead me in paths of peace and blessing.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Be sure to let me know in the comments how God is using this truth in your life!