Everyone loves to pass tests. But what’s the secret?
My life verse is Roman 8:28: “In all things, God works for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
This verse is thrown around like a loose scarf and many seem to forget the last half.
My dear friend, Pastor Bobby Brewer, spoke on this topic on Sunday, July 29th , and I thought I would reflect on some of his comments.
Have you ever been tested? I mean really tested to where you really thought this was a big joke and maybe there was a hidden camera to see if you were going to fall on your face? I go through them daily. Now, it’s important to realize that temptations are not from God, but are enticements used by Satan to disobey God. Temptations come daily, too, but those are put in our way to get us off track.
Tests, on the other hand, are circumstances that God allows into our lives to see if we are capable of moving from one level of spirituality to the next….or to reveal our maturity! They also are designed to show our true character.
Hmmm…if that is true, I can think of daily interactions which put me to the test.
Have you ever been in a casual conversation and all of a sudden the person to whom you are speaking starts to gossip or say something which is hurtful about something or someone? What do I do? Well, that is the “test.”
What about when I get a bill in the mail which I did not expect? Do I curse the situation and freak out? Do I call and yell at the company? How do I handle to conflict?
What about if at work, I do not get any credit for all the hard work I do and my partner, who did not do much, gets all the accolades? Or I get blamed for something which is not my fault? Do I seek revenge? Or do I understand that God is in control and this could be a test of my character.
This is where the rubber meets the road.
The verse which I live by, has some definite “fine print.” Does that part ever get discussed? Yes, all things do work out and are for His good (and ultimately for mine), HOWEVER, not if I don’t LOVE God. Well, heck, one can say, I love God! But, are you obeying Him!? John 14: 15 says if you love God, you’ll KEEP His commandments. I know one of his commandments is to love thy neighbor as thyself. It’s not to loving to gossip or to talk negatively to or about someone. I’m not LOVING God then, am I?
I need to treat people the way Jesus would (Mat 25:40)
So, in order to pass the test which come our way and truly trust in this verse, there are four keys, which Bobby so eloquently discussed.
The way I see it is that the moment I open my eyes in the morning, I am under this exam. So let’s say I get to school and a student is rude to me. First, I need to see it from God’s perspective. How would He handle this and how can I glorify Him through this test and with other kids who don’t act becomingly.
- I need to acknowledge that God has interest in me and how I can use this for His glory. The day He’s laid out for me is for my best interest and how I react to rough situations is the test!
- Next, when I can’t trust His head, I need to trust His heart. I am reminded of Paul returning to Jerusalem in Acts 20: 22. He had no idea what he was about to enter, but He knew God had His back. Do I trust this when I enter the mission field every day in this neighborhood? Do I throw caution to the wind and trust His best? I might not “get it” at the moment, but God does. Trust… in the test…..
- Asking for help is hard when we’ve been programmed to be so “STRONG!.” I remember how Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, not to bug him, but to rely on GOD!! Maybe these tests are put in our way so we’ll throw up our hands and say, “HELP!” John 14: 6 tells us that HE sent us ANOTHER counselor! I don’t need me to counsel me, or the “phone call,” but the THRONE! THE HOLY SPIRIT! The PARAKLEET.
- Finally, I cannot quit. Perseverance leads to character development. “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-56). It ain’t easy! But it’s simple with Him with me. Shoot, it’s hard in the mine field daily! It’s hard to trust that all these tests are for His glory and for my spiritual maturity, but it’s true…like it or lump it!
What a glorious gift, these tribulations. Is that your attitude? All things do work together. That word is “WORK,” not hang around and play. Work means the work of my salvation is being pursued daily, by Him. If I have this heart and mind attitude, I can take anything. “Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ…NOTHING. “ (Romans 8: 35)