NPD | Two key steps in new product development (NPD) are idea generation and idea screening. In idea generation, tons of ideas – even bad ideas – are encouraged . As David Kelley, founder of IDEO, has said, “Let their ideas fly; let them achieve what [Stanford psychologist Albert] Bandura calls self-efficacy” . In idea screening, however, most of those ideas are tossed out. They get screened for things like feasibility, market attractiveness and scalability. They get weeded out by testing.
Testing | We go through a similar process with God. We begin with lots of ideas about how to live, but most of them are selfish and ungodly. As God has said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” . This is why He refines us – to make us better products, more durable for living and more suited for glory. After all, as we saw yesterday , He is preparing us to enjoy His holiness. As James wrote, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” .
Cornered | How do trials test our faith and produce steadfastness? Consider Israel. God promised to rescue Israel from Egypt and bring them into the Promised Land. In the end, He did. But He did something between His promise-making and His promise-keeping; He tested their faith. He led them to a place where they were cornered – mountains on both sides, Pharaoh’s army behind them, and the Red Sea before them. Where would they go? They had to depend on God for salvation. He parted the sea and drowned the army!
Truth | Jesus said that the truth will set us free  and the truth is that we are entirely and utterly dependent on God . The more we know that, the freer we are. Yet our knowing that often takes us through trials that wean us from our self-reliance so that our faith in Him deepens. In the end, the more refined our faith, the more clearly we see and reflect His beauty and worth.
Prayer | Lord, We confess that we are we are fragile, weak and vulnerable. Yet you are refining us so that we are being made more durable for living and suited for glory. Therefore, we count it all joy when we meet trials for we know that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. Amen.
 Linda Tischler. “Six Surefire Ways to Kill a Brainstorm.” Fast Company. 28 February 2001. |  TEDBlog. “Building creative confidence: David Kelley at TED2012.” 1 March 2012. |  Isaiah 55:8 ESV |  843 Acres. “On Coming into the Presence of the Lord.” 8 May 2012. |  James 1:2 ESV |  John 8:32 ESV |  See John 5:19-29 (noting that not even Jesus could do anything of his own accord)