Previously we discussed that God will test us and that we as believers should expect to be tested. We identified that it is to our benefit to undergo testing, to refine that which is already developing within us – our faith.
Testing will show us what we really believe and how it translates into the way we live our lives. Our faith is not just demonstrated by our talk, but also demonstrated by our walk.
Our faith is what God considers more precious than gold.
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 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 honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 6-7)
“For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” (Psalm 66.10)
Metal is made stronger by the process of purification in fire. Testing in our lives, causes us to grow into strong disciples who truly “live by faith and not by sight: (2 Cor 5:7) Who , even though we feel week, know what it is to rely on Christ’s power for our lives.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)
In fact, everything about our lives will be tested by fire.
“If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.” (1 Cor 3:12-13)
So important is it to develop strong faith, that our enemy will do everything in his power to destroy faith. (1 Thes 3:5) For this reason, Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 6, that our shield of faith will protect us from the fiery arrows of the enemy.
Testing not only refines our faith, but…
- Will keep us from sinning (Exodus 20:20 “Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’”)
- Will test our integrity, so that we can see it (1 Chron 29:17; Psalm 17:3 “Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed.”)
- Will measure our love for God, so that we can understand that measurement (Deut 13:3 “The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.”)
- Reward our efforts in our walk with the Lord (Jer 17:10 ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’)
In fact, whenever the Lord has spent an extensive time teaching you something through the Spirit from His Word, you can guarantee there will be a test to see if the lesson has sunken in.
The sad thing is that many of us do not pass the tests given to us.
The Greek word for one who fails a test is “adokimos.” Translators have translated it as:
- “disqualified” in 1 Cor 9:27
- “fail the test” in 2 Cor 13:5-7
- “detestable, disobedient and unfit” in Titus 1:16
- “worthless” in Hebrews 6:8
God wants us to pass our tests, to grow in faith to mature believers.
Jesus had some advice for our tests:
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” (Rev 2:10)
“‘I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” (Luke 12:4-5) Fear God, not men.
“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name… Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” (Rev 3:8,10)
Much as we don’t enjoy tests or testing in our lives, they are an essential part of our spiritual growth.
Thank you, Lord, that You desire a faith in me that is more precious than gold and to do this, you refine me. Help me to accept that testing is part of my growth into a strong, mature believer. Help me to endeavor to pass my tests, to learn well the lessons you teach me, so that when the testing comes, I will not “adokimos.” Help me to endure patiently, to keep Your word and not deny Your name, even when I am weak. Help me to strengthen my shield of faith, so that when the enemy comes against me, I will stand.