Just as nature has a cycle of life so the believer has a spiritual cycle of life. In the natural we see the birth of a life, struggle and growth of a life and then the end of life as the cycle begins again. We can see the spiritual cycle of life in what Jesus went through being tested of Satan in Matthew 3:16-17 – 4:1-11. Looking at Jesus’ response we can better understand our own spiritual cycle.
Jesus started His public ministry being baptized, which acknowledged openly a death to self-interest and a committed life for God. God acknowledges Jesus as His Son and the Holy Spirit guided Jesus away from the crowd into a wilderness, separating (sanctifying) Him for God’s purpose. Jesus was then tested in the very area that God had just spoken about Him, “This is my Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” Satan will come and test or try the words God has spoken in our lives to see if we firmly believe God or if he can cast doubt in our hearts and cause us to give up just as he did with Adam and Eve.
Some people want to believe the word they receive from God and then go happily without a struggle into an easy and uneventful life. But this is not reality there will always be a testing of our faith and some give up hope because of adversity and hard times. True faith with deep roots will persevere through testing. Those without deep rooted faith are like the seeds sown in shallow, stony and thorny ground, though they believed with joy at first when worry and concerns of this world comes it chokes their belief and they lose hope and their faith in the word God had given them in the beginning.
Matthew 13:21-23 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Jesus is our example as to how we are to survive the pressure and onslaught of this fallen world’s system. It is by the spoken word of God, saying what God says on the matter. The Bible says, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. When we are tested we will see what we truly believe in our hearts, because our mouth will speak and the words will reveal our faith or our lack of faith.
God had just proclaimed to the world Jesus was His Son and that was the very point Satan tested to see if Jesus would hold on to that word or if He could be persuaded with the riches of this world and with immediate gratification. Jesus knew He was the Son of God but He would have to experience the pain, scourging, the death of the cross and a separation from God to fulfill His purpose. This was the only way to set us free from sin so He would bear sin for us. Satan will always tempt us with a quick fix or a fast track to avoid the struggle and God’s purpose, but it will always end in death and destruction.
Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit used the same weapons of warfare that we are given by the Spirit of God and that is the word of God, “it is written.” Satan attacked Jesus on the same three fronts that he uses against us. He entice us satisfy our survival needs at the cost of others and obtain fame, exalt self-pride and to obtain riches and power unjustly at the expense of others. All these things God had already promised to Jesus and to us that we would receive in due season. God wants His children to have the good things in life as any good father wants the best for their children, but not at the expense of their integrity and character. It brings God glory when we walk in the truth of His word and when we persevere through the testing and struggles. When we let God’s love shine through our lives others will see and have hope for their lives.
Some believers have the same mindset as the world. They believe their lives are for their own pleasures and comfort. Many think they are here for an easy life and when difficult times come, some may even think God is not protecting them or He is not doing His job. True believers of Christ are not their own, we were never created for ourselves even in the beginning but for God’s glory. Even after the fall of mankind we were purchased through the blood of Jesus for God’s purpose to become children of God and for His glorify.
1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. NIV
We are told not to think it a strange thing when there is a testing of our faith, because our faith is only validated when it is tested. Some people will say they are children of God and believers of Christ but when the truth is tested in their lives then we will see what they truly believe in their hearts. Some will say they love God and His people, but when tested to do what is righteous by the marginalized and destitute they forfeit their beliefs for what will benefit themselves and their finances. It is then their true beliefs are revealed. They will allow the cares of this world to choke the word of God from their lives because they do not really trust God to provide. Some may give up saying there is no use in trying and they will choose the immediate satisfaction of the moment over the promises and eternal peace of God.
1 Peter 4:12-13 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. NIV
With every new truth God reveals to a believer it could start a new spiritual cycle of life. It is when we hear the word of God that the seed of that that truth and life is planted into our hearts. The enemy or life struggles will come to test our belief in that truth. We are able to stand when we continue to speak God’s word and know His truth on the matter. The Bible says, though we be troubled on every side, we are not distressed; we are persecuted, but not forsaken. These afflictions are but for time and a season. Once we persevere through this cycle the experience and faith we gain will work in us and through us an exceeding and eternal weight of triumph.
We cannot speak what we do not know. The Holy Spirit is in us constantly bringing new truth to us in different areas of our lives and these truths will be tested, but we can stand by the power of God’s word. The spiritual cycle of life is when a truth of God’s word is planted into our spirit. At which time we must choose to die to the old self and persevere through the testing of His truth. Then the world will see God’s glory manifested in our lives giving hope to those in the earth. This cycle will begin when a new truth is given by the Holy Spirit and as we are being transformed into the image of Christ.