Its just that simple.
And its just that hard.
Wherever you are in life there are tests being administered in God’s classroom of discipleship. And every test reveals 3 simple realities.
What do God’s tests show us?
1. Tests reveal what we DO NOT YET HAVE.
James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”
God wants you to be “not lacking anything.” So your current test is simply pointing at what’s lacking in your character. No, it’s not stuff, money, more friends, and a wonderful retirement package… Its things like patience – so the test is an aggravating coworker who leaves their half-eaten candy bar on your desk. Or it could be love, so God hands you a difficult person that stretches your love ability. Or it could be wisdom, so God will drop you in entirely new circumstances where you are forced to seek the counsel of the Word (Proverbs 8:14). That’s a great place to be by the way.
2. Tests reveal what we really WANT.
Another word for “test” is “exam.” We may take tests but exams take us. They “examine” the desire of our hearts. Classroom tests examine our head knowledge. God’s tests examine our what our heart “wants.”
Abraham was asked to put his only son to death. This is that son he desperately wanted for many years. Of course God spared Isaac but not before Abraham passed the test by being willing to give him up. God said to Abraham after he passed: “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:12 In other words, Abraham, you do not WANT anything more than God. A+
Consider what Moses said when God offered to give him the promised land without His presence (Exodus 33:3). Moses cried out, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” Exodus 33:15. Moses had arrived in that wonderful place in life where he WANTED nothing more than God. He knew a land flowing milk and honey without God would soon dry up and waste away.
This is what many of us struggle with in life’s tests. We simply have yet to see the value of God’s presence over all else. Let me promise you: Until everything else in life comes secondary to God’s presence in this life – we will continue in failure and frustration because we were made to be/dwell/live with Him.
3. Tests reveal the GRACE of God.
Good news fellow failures! God is the only instructor in the world who never fails a student.
In Christ, it’s not the end if you fail. It’s only the end if you quit! God doesn’t mark your test paper with an “F.” He marks with with a “T” – Try Again. Paul said “where sin abounds there grace much more abounds.”
God will not give up getting on you to the next level. Believe that. It doesn’t matter if you’ve failed the test a million times. Take it again. Lean into His Spirit and dig into His Word more with every single go-around. If your failures get you back to church, back to your knees and back to the Word – you are on the right track! However, if your failures get you discouraged, defeated, and condemned – you’ve given ear to the enemy. Satan is a liar and seeks to devour your confidence. Resist him and draw near to God.
1. What am I lacking?
2. What do I want?
Keep believing… YOU WILL EVENTUALLY PASS THIS TEST.
2 Thessalonians 3:4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.