The Test

There have been many things written on our testing by God. 
Here is my take on one way I think we are tested and why we are tested.

In 2 Samuel chapters 15 and 16 we find King David leaving Jerusalem as his son Absalom is taking the kingdom from him. In 2 Samuel 16:5 a man comes on the scene by the name of Shimei who is of the house of Saul. He came cursing David continually as he came. He was on the hill above David and his men and was cursing and throwing rocks at David. One of Davidís men said, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head." David said, "What if the Lord has told him Ďcurse Davidí". So David and his men went on and Shimei went along on the hillside parallel with him and as he went he cursed and cast stones and threw dust at him.

There is no doubt in my mind that it is just this spirit, this attitude in David that caused him to be called a man after Godís heart. Why am I always so sure when people come against me that it is not God? Am I that confident of my own goodness? This just may have been a test God allowed to show Davidís heart. To show that on that day he would walk in the Spirit.

When one of the people left a fellowship I was attending felt he had been unfairly attacked, he lashed back fiercely at everyone. I posed this question to him. I said, "What if God is allowing all this to come against you to test you. To see how you will respond. To see if it will cause you to react according to the flesh or the Spirit." He said he did not believe it was God. I said I was not saying it was God, but what if it was. He replied again he did not think it was God. I said I am not saying God did it or caused it, but we know he knew about it and could have prevented it. And what if he allowed it as a test to see how you would respond. He said, "Well I donít believe it was God, but if it was I failed."

The Book of James with a statement that is difficult for us to understand. He says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." Maybe James is writing about just such testing. Almost every time there has been an opportunity in my life for increased service or power in the kingdom of Christ, there has been a test. The test may have been an opposition, maybe a great temptation or maybe a seemingly unsurmountable problem, but something which God allowed. Something he allowed to see if I would react in the flesh or the Spirit. I truly believe God does this more than we ever know or realize because our vision in to the spirit realm is so limited. The test is not for God he knows my heart. I do not believe we are tested to prove we are worthy or to be made worthy. Jesus made me worthy. The test is mainly for me. So I can see my heart. It may be so others can see my heart, but I donít know. I do know that day Davidís men saw his heart. They may have thought him foolish, but on that day they saw him respond with the grace and heart of God. When I was allowed to see into the spirit realm and see this, I realized there were times I failed. I also realized there were times I did not fail and that God gave me the grace and extra measure of his Spirit to be more than a conqueror. It is never easy to react so that the nature of our Savior is manifested even when the assault and the attack by others is hate filled and even mean. There have been those times when I know my actions were not a reaction, but guided by grace. Grace which was manifested so clearly that I looked inside and was amazed at how much grace I had been able to show even when I did not feel it inside.

Does God allow us as individuals to be tested? There is no doubt in my mind. Does God allow organizations and churches to be tested in this way and for this reason? I donít really know. But I am not sure he does. An organization can not see their heart or might not know if it failed or passed. The purpose of this type of testing is for evaluation and guidance for growth. Also I think many would suffer from opposition whom God had no reason to test. On this point I have no solid Scriptural guidance.

There is another fact to be considered. If we fail the test does that mean God will not use us? Does it mean we will forfeit the power or ministry we could have? I donít think it necessarily does. The sovereignty of God in such things is difficult or impossible for us to grasp. He can and will choose to do what he wants with us. I just donít know. But there is one thing I am sure of. If I can hear the voice of God and see into the spirit realm, I will see times I have not been used when I failed the test. I failed to be a suitable vessel to carry his anointing, manifest his Spirit and operate in the ministry he could have given me. He may not withhold from me because I failed the test, but the failure can show me why I am not used mightily. That fact is very hard for me to see, much less accept, but I know it is true.

Some people would say that is easier for one person to act in a more acceptable way because it is just their nature. Some people have a quicker temper or other traits which may cause them to react in a certain way. Using this as a reason to act a certain way is nothing more that an excuse. It is an attempt to limit Godís ability to change us. Romans 8:29 tells us that we are predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son. I have heard it said, "The blood of Jesus has never cleansed an excuse." This saying is normally applied to sin and forgiveness, but I would also apply it to sanctification. As long as I excuse my actions by saying, "Thatís just the way I am," can I ever change?

Have you ever thought about this? Both Satan and God are trying to kill us. Both want me to die but for completely different reasons. The Devil wants to destroy me so I am of no value to the Kingdom of God and take my life. God wants my flesh to die so I can walk in the Spirit. Psalm 116:13 says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints." Taking up our cross means crucifying the flesh so that it no longer controls me. Oh how I want to cry out with Paul in Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. I am afraid that when I look at me, I am still living in me. I want to pass the test so I donít have to keep repeating it. We may not think so, but Godís grace allows us to keep retaking the tests until we pass. And I do want to pass.

 

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Written by: Aaron Bruce
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