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 site even a single verse to supports this claim, (probably because there are none).
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? Check this out for more on the topic of trials and faith.
If God uses our circumstances to teach us something, then that means that the circumstance we find ourselves in would have to be ordained by God. But is that true? Is everything you go through caused by God?
Most would say that no, everything that happens to us isn’t caused by God, but still we are told that some things are given to teach us something. If it’s not everything, then it would be fair to say that some things are from God and some things aren’t. But how would we know what is from God and what isn’t?
It’s these questions that have not been asked that have kept believers bound and in the dark for a very long time. Since we are believers, let’s find out what the Bible has to say about it.
Satan is the enemy. He is known as the father of lies, the deceiver, the accuser, adversary, and so much more. In a nutshell, he is the bad guy. He is the opposite of God. If God says up, he says down. If God says go, he says stop. He is the chief rebel. And anything bad happening in our lives is a result of something we either allowed him to do or something he influenced in our lives.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy
It should be easy to distinguish when he is involved. If you are having trouble with what satan is and does, go to your Bible app and do a search. Put in satan, devil, adversary, accuser. Get to know him. See what he does.
Got it? Good. Now that we know who the devil is and what he does, we can better decide if we should believe that everything that happens to us is God.
But we also need to know what is God. What does it look like when He is at work in our lives? We can see the expressed image of God in Jesus. He came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. So anything that gives life is of God. It’s in the same verse that tells us what satan does. He lays it out plainly.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life, and have it in abundance.
So how would we know if God is teaching us something? Even the question is flawed. It’s like saying that God is answering a prayer that you never prayed. Or that He did something in your life without the requirement of faith. And that is never true. God always requires faith from us if we are to receive anything from Him.
But without faith it is impossible to please God.
So if you think God is trying to teach you something and you aren’t using faith to receive it, or you haven’t prayed and asked Him for wisdom to understand, then what basis do you have to believe it is Him?
The only thing we need to learn from our circumstances is when satan has infiltrated our lives. And we’ve already been told how to spot it. Was something taken from you? Did something die in your life? Was there destruction involved? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then you know where it came from.
Don’t throw your brain out the window and say stupid things like God is teaching you something through tragedy and destruction. It’s not His will, and He wants to keep you safe from these types of 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.
Why do we think it is ok to believe anything we want as long as we include God in it?
God does not put bad and evil things in our lives to teach us lessons. Sure, you can learn things by the situations that you face in life. And some of them will be beneficial in some ways.
But God is only moved by our faith. He is looking for people that have faith and are using it. Jesus said about the centurion soldier whose servant was healed that He had not found so great faith in all of Israel (Luke 7). God is always looking for faith, so He can show His goodness in that person’s life.
If you say God is teaching you something, but you aren’t using faith, it’s not Him.
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 faith. That’s why Jesus came, and He was sent directly from the Father. If God was going to do anything in a person’s life, without them believing Him in faith, it would be saving lost souls. But He doesn’t even do that. He leaves it up to each person to believe and receive.
And the same way we received Jesus is the same way we will learn the things of God and the lessons He wants to teach us in life. Which is by faith. We were saved because we believed and had faith that Jesus is the Son of God, and we are to live and learn by believing for what we need and receiving 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 a bunch of heartbreak and tragedy to get you to learn things. That’s not how He operates. The instruction and teaching of God will be the result of the faith we have in Him to give those things to 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.
When it comes down to being taught the things of God, there are only two ways He will teach us. Through His Word and through 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 be able to rely on it being 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 the concept of God walking with Adam in the Garden of Eden. Did God put them 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 about the things they needed to learn?
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 the actions of Adam and Eve. 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.
Look at your life and decide, is the situation I am in because of a choice that I made?
Most of the time you will have to answer yes. And if that’s true, then you are responsible for where you are, not God. Don’t put God in the middle of your situation to make up for the fact that you can’t explain why things are happening.
He is a good Father and He will give to anyone that asks in faith. Go to Him and ask him to give you 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 in your life. 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.
If you think God talks to you through circumstances, then you don’t know God very well. Most churches and Christian radio are not a good place to learn about God. If you want to know the truth about God, you have to get it from the Bible. Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to live with us and to guide us through our hearts. God leads and teaches us by His word and by His Spirit.
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. The knowing in your spirit. 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 didn’t see it. That’s how God teaches us. Through His Word and His Spirit. Learn to be more sensitive to that witness, and you will begin to learn who God is and what He wants for your life.
Get your eyes off the storms of life and tune in to your spirit and His Spirit within you.
Our life is hidden with Christ. You won’t find God in your circumstances. You will only find Him when you seek Him with your whole heart. Even if you are saved, these things are not automatic. It takes effort to seek the guidance of the Lord. It takes training yourself to recognize the Spirit of God in you. And real faith is always paired with action.
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.
In the same way, faith by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead.
And remember that one of the names of the devil is deceiver. He will do anything he can to keep you from looking his way 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.