Wherever you are in your faith walk, when it comes to tests, I have some great news, some good news and some bad news for you…
Here’s the bad news first: Yes, you are being tested. We all are, and truth be told, I think the way we work through every circumstance of our lives is a test. Whether or not we are grateful, dependent, trusting… Everything can be a test of faith…
A bad attitude: test.
Car problems: test.
Pink slip: test.
New job: test.
New spouse: test.
Old spouse: test.
New boy/girlfriend: test.
New baby: test.
Child going to kindergarten: test.
Kids home from college: test.
Best friend upset with you: test.
Budget issues: test.
The good news: It’s not pass/fail! The tests we are in are not to determine if we have what it takes to pass; and if we don’t, we fail. What would failing look like? Does it mean we fail at life or adulthood? If we did, would we have to repeat our time as a teen, an adolescent or preschooler? I don’t think so.
So, if it’s not about failing, what would it look like to pass? Do we get promoted to the next grade in life? Do we get to apply for an MBA – Most Blessed Adult? Do we work toward a Doctorate in Adulthood?
God already knows the outcome of our tests; he already knows the status of our faith. So, I don’t think God tests us to see if we will pass or fail, I think he tests us to reveal to us where our faith is strong and where it needs strengthening. I think his tests reveal and burn away the things that keep us from having the strongest faith possible.
We need to know the strength (or weakness) of our faith, and the only way we will know is if it is tested.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” – Job 23:10 NIV
“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” – Isaiah 48:10 NIV
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” – 1 Peter 1:7 NIV
God tests our faith because a faith that is not tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. If God did not allow trials, we wouldn’t know the genuineness of our faith, nor would we experience growth in our faith. We are told to rejoice in our trials…
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-5 NIV
And, now for the really great news: Every test is an open book test! God has given us the textbook – the Bible! Everything we need to know to come through every test successfully is in the Bible, and we can open it to find the answers.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” – Joshua 1:7-8 NIV
Joshua only had five books of the Bible, and yet, God told him that would be sufficient for him to be prosperous and successful. That didn’t mean he’d be rich and famous – but it did mean he would have God’s wisdom through every test.
Paul reiterated the same thing to Timothy…
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:14-17 NIV
Jesus, when tempted by the Devil, withstood temptation by quoting Scripture. The Bible is sufficient for every test that you and I will ever endure. If our faith is built on the Word of God, we will not fail; our faith will not fail. If we are trusting in anything else, we will not succeed.
Whose wisdom are you relying on to bring you successfully through the trials and tests of life? There is no other book that has the answers to all of life’s questions.