Do you just love taking tests? No? I don’t either, and I doubt very many people do.
School has always been a challenge for me–especially the whole testing thing. I was one of those students that had to work hard for every grade I got. My sister was the opposite; sometimes she didn’t even have to study, but could still come up with a decent grade.
Tests are never fun in the natural, and they aren’t fun in the spiritual either.
There are lots of tests that you will face as a student in school, and there are also lots of tests AND trials that you will face as a follower of Christ. So I think we should ask ourselves:
What good does it do to pass a spiritual test? What does it mean to pass tests and trials at all?
When you pass a test that challenges your ability to hang on to your divinely-inspired dreams, you open a door for yourself. Passing a test like that helps you discover your purpose and destiny in life.
Genesis 22:1-3 says:
“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.”
God tested Abraham personally–AND He tested Abraham’s faith. As it says in Proverbs 17:3:
“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts.
Additionally, Proverbs 4:23 says:
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
This means that, if your heart is pure:
your life will be pure;
your relationships will be pure; and
your motives will be pure.
But, if your heart is corrupt, then everything else will follow the same.
If you want to know what is in a person’s heart, listen to what they are saying.
Jesus said in Matthew 12:34,”… For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Keeping our words submitted to the Lord is a test by itself, but it definitely shows whether our heart is hidden in Christ or wandering after our own fleshly desires.
Pay close attention to what James says about tests and trials in James 1:2-4:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
This is a very rich Scripture because the apostle James is telling us how to face the trials we will encounter! He says: “COUNT IT ALL JOY!”
Can you imagine what it would be like if we really got the revelation of ‘counting it all joy’?
We’d be like: “WHOOOO HOOOO … PRAISE GOD, EVERYBODY … I’M GOING THROUGH HELL RIGHT NOW, HALLELUJAH! AREN’T YOU JEALOUS OF ME? LOOK AT YOU, I KNOW YOU ARE!!!”
You talk about making the devil’s head spin? That would really catch his hair on fire, if he has hair. But friend, it’s not just a joke. According to the WORD, which is our FINAL AUTHORITY, this is what we need to do to pass these tests and trials–and in order to give the devil a run for his money.
Have you ever noticed people who are bent on letting you know they are going through something?
Their shoulders are bent; their head is bowed; and they are adamant on letting you know by the way they look that they are going through some tests and trials. You can almost hear them screaming, “ASK ME … ASK ME! Ask me what I’m going through.”
Then there are those other blood-bought, faith-filled, can’t-stop, won’t-stop people who say, like Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
The reason that I can count it all joy is because–on the other side of this–there really is going to be joy. There’s going to be glory.
That’s right. There’s going to be glory:
On the other side of your faith …
On the other side of your obedience …
On the other side of your shout …
On the other side of your Jericho march right through the middle of hell …
There is going to be V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!
Don’t ever forget these amazing words: “AND IT CAME TO PASS!”
Those words mean both that:
This too shall PASS; and
The word God promised you and spoke to you will HAPPEN!
Deuteronomy 8:2 declares:
“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
Are you kiddin’? You mean the Lord will take you through tests and trials just to test you? YES … YES … AND YES!
The Bible says the Spirit of the Lord descended like a dove on Jesus while John was baptizing Him. At that moment, God spoke and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Immediately after that, the Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights.
If the Father God will send His Son to be tested for 40 days and 40 nights in a wilderness, SURELY … we will be tested. 🙂
HEADS UP! You will be tested!
James 1:12 says:
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
Wow! THAT is one good reason to go through a test: The promise of a crown of life. A crown of life is a pretty awesome deal. But, I love it when James says, “WHEN he has been approved”–BECAUSE WITH GOD THERE IS NEVER AN “IF.” IT IS ALWAYS A “WHEN!” There is a “when” in your future.
God told the children of Israel, “WHEN I bring you into the Promised Land ….” It wasn’t an “if,” a “maybe,” or even a “let’s hope so.” No way! He said, “WHEN!” And there is still a “when” in YOUR future as well.
WHEN … I bring you through that valley;
WHEN … I get you out of debt;
WHEN … I restore your marriage;
WHEN … I heal your body;
WHEN … Your family is saved!
There is a “WHEN” in your future!
The apostle Peter also weighed in on passing the tests and trials of life. He wrote, in 1 Peter 4:12-14:
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified” (1 Peter 4:12-14).
No trial … no glory. No tests … no glory.
I want the Spirit of glory to rest on me. Don’t you?
Have you ever been around someone who is right in the middle of the biggest trial of their lives, and it’s such a joy to be around them because GLORY is resting on them? Peace is on them. Joy is on them. They are not moved by what they are facing or going through, because the Spirit of the Lord rests on them.
Look at what else the Lord says about tests and trials:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ …” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Peter is saying, “I know you are facing some hard things right now. The trial of your faith and the testing of your faith may have you crying and wondering and weeping. But, you just HOLD ON to your faith!”
It may seem like you’re in a firestorm, but the Lord promised you in Isaiah 43:2-3a:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior …” (Isaiah 43:2-3a).
When you go through the fire, you get new revelation.
Fire takes you UP and UP and UP. It takes you from strength to strength, from faith to faith, and from glory to glory. And you are passing these difficult tests and trials because you have a praise on your lips and glory in your step.
Remember that the teacher is always quiet during a test.
What would it be like if you are in the middle of a test at school, and you speak up and say to the teacher, “Excuse me, could you go over again the notes you taught on the fourth question on this test? I’m not quite coming up with the right answer.” THAT WOULD BE ABSURD!
In school, the teacher is assuming that you were attentive in their class, and they want you to “get” what they are trying to teach you. The whole point is that the material they have taught will be part of your learning experience, and that you can use it to go out into the world with the qualifications to acquire a good job.
So it is with God. It is when He is the quietest that He is doing the greatest work!
James says, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4).
Let’s keep going on. Let’s keep on keeping on. And let’s keep passing the tests and trials of life!
Does this word encourage you in the storm you’re going through right now? Please leave a comment below and tell me what the Lord is saying to you! And HANG IN THERE; YOU ARE PASSING THE TEST!