Times of testing! When we are in school, those tests we have to take tell us and our teachers what we have learned. But are we able to apply, in the future, what we have learned when, for instance, we have found a job? Tests in school are certainly for this purpose: that we have anchored in our minds what was taught and not just for proving on the very day of the test that we have memorized/temporarily learned, what the teacher has presented to us; in that case we will only have retained it for a little while.
We learn from our Bible reading and study that God will surely test us in our faith First of all, when we hear the Word of God: will it enter our hearts and minds and take root there, will those hearts and minds be the good and open “soil” that accepts His word? Or will His word be the seed that has fallen on the rocky soil, where it does not take root, so when the time of testing comes, there will be a falling away (Luke 8:4-15)? Falling away can start with lip-seervice, sheer complacency, or finally, a total departure from God’s pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:5b).
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3). Has the word of God taken firm root in your lives? In your emotions, your proper God-guided feelings and actions? when “trials of many kinds” have “tested your faith” has it resulted in maturity (James 1:2-4)?
In Philippi, Paul was made to suffer, was insulted but, with the help of God, continued and dared to proclaim the gospel in spite of strong opposition. He clearly understood that a Christian does not try to please people but only God, “who tests the heart” (1 Thessalonians 2:2-4). Testing of his faith resulted in perseverance (James 1:3)!
Sooner or later all of us will experience “testing of our faith”. How have we translated God’s word into our lives? Have we allowed it to make a difference in our lives? Sooner or later there may even be an especially “big” test! To be prepared for all of our future tests, let us examine ourselves daily, to see where we stand. Let’s ask:
* How current is my “fruit-bearing” for Christ – fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)? This is a very important underpinning for Chrisitan growth, maturity and living out god’s will.
* How committed am I? Is God first in my life? Is He the basis for all my actions?
* How often do I speak to others about Jesus? This is probably the area that shows the most, if my faith is really what it should be.
These very important questions can only be answered by each and every one of us, as we honestly search our own hearts. God will help us: as we surrender and commit ourselves to His will, we will pass all our tests. And that is what will aid us to grow, mature, and share our faith in Jesus.