The Test

By David Stahl


We are exhorted to set the gaze of our spirit upward toward Jesus whose life was openly displayed for us to look upon.  We are to both consider and meditate upon the example of His life as the pattern for our lives. “Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God.”  (Hebrews 12:2)  The shame we often feel (believe it or not) can be a test that God has placed before us to see if we can qualify or be approved for the next thing God has for us.  Jesus our supreme example was tested not only by the religious folks of the day (like us) and the disciples, but also from His loving Heavenly Father.  Jesus’ trust and obedience for everything was in the Father will for His life. This is how He could say,  “of Myself I can do nothing.”  John shares this account from Jesus, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”  (John 5:30).  Yet today we run around and say we have the power and do little with it and say we can do all of these things, but Jesus said He has no power (unless the Father gives it to Him) and can do nothing unless it be “the will of the Father.”Something is very wrong here.  Even the Old Testament speaks prophetically of Jesus regarding the implicit trust He placed in His Father concerning His life and ministry. “For the Lord God will help Me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”  (Isaiah 50:7) Due to His faith and implicit trust in the character of His Father Jesus was enabled to fully obey His Father’s will.  He knew His Father would not fail Him in the time of need or in time of testing.  Paul also set the gaze of his spirit toward the LORD and diligently followed the pattern he saw in the example of Jesus.  He gave his testimony expressing the result of his living, as the LORD lived. “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:12-14)  And make no mistake Paul of all of the disciples was tested more than the other 83.  Paul knew something about testings and trials and like Paul, the other disciples, and our LORD we are exhorted to have this same “mind.”  Paul writes in Philippians, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded:  and if in anything you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you.”  (Philippians 3:15)  If we are to grow spiritually we must have both vision and direction along with an implicit trust not only in the ability, but also in the willingness of the LORD to bring us into the fullness of His intention for us through testing.  Yes testing is the tool God uses in our lives to grow (as water, sunshine, and dung grows plants) up and to qualify or be approved for the next thing He has for us.  Knowing this I wonder why I kick at the goads like Paul when God brings a good test my way?   Maybe because we do not see it as a test?  Or maybe we know it is a test, but resist the gain for the cost of the pain.  John Wright Follette wrote a wonderful small booklet called, “Troubles Our Servant” that teaches us what we call troubles (what God calls a test) can serve to make us better men and women of God.  Charles Haun sang the song, “Count Your Blessing” this way.  Count your troubles name them one by one and you will be amazed to see what God has done.  Tests and troubles in our lives serve as a blessing if we can allow them to define and refine our character to be more like the image and character of Jesus Christ, God’s goal in our lives.    

         Recently a good friend of mine gave me a healthy chunk of money to Western Union (WU) or bank wire to a missionary friend in Africa.  After four trips (to the bank) the bank finally told me the Department of Homeland Security (fear does have has torment) turned off the bank transfer pipes and even WU that originate in the US.  Well I knew my friend needed the money and I did not want to let him down so with every trip to the bank and trying to send the WU at a local grocery store the level of frustration was heightened. This was a test from God, but I did not see it at first. It had nothing to do with the money transfer that was the tool God used to reveal my heart condition during the test. God wanted to see  (but sadly He always knew) and wanted me to see my attitude during the frustration and the 35 minute car ride (one way) to the bank from our home. To be honest I did not do well in this test.  My attitude towards the bank representative (who was trying to help me) was poor at best. You know the only thing we are really in control of is our attitude.  We must never forget at the heart of every issue is an issue of our heart.  If we do then we will fail the test time and time again and the LORD will raise the stakes a little bit for the next test. You know     

we think God is more concerned about the big tests He brings our way, but oh no my friend  this is wrong thinking.  God is more concerned about the little small teeny tiny test, those that we think are insignificant. As a matter of fact the smaller the test the more  God closely scrutinizing us in it. God knows if we cannot be faithful in the small things then we will not be faithful in the big things.  Jesus told the disciples, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”  (Luke 16:10) So too in our testing from God.  God knows if we cannot be successful in the small test then we will never be successful in the big test.

         Lastly we have not exhausted the depth of revelation that is buried layer upon layer within the Word of God.  There is hidden manna spiritual principles that are not openly available, but made manifest to those who have certain overcoming qualities in their lives for those who have learned the lessons God is giving and for those who have qualified for them through testing.  Many theorize God’s end-time plan for man but, before the LORD will reveal more to us we must have a proper attitude, spirit, and a pure heart motive.  First we must be walking in integrity with Him in the out-working of the Word that we have already received. Through illumination this present Word should be vibrant  (a living reality) having relevant meaning in relation to and through our present circumstances and time.  The LORD is progressively bringing us into a greater understanding of Himself, of His desire for the growth and well being of His Church, and the establishing of His kingdom (righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit Romans 14:17) in our heart.  I hear many people (even Christians) ask what is life about?  The number of books written on the meaning of life are astounding,  talk shows on TV (even Christians) command hours and hours of our time, but all fall short of God’s working, though His dealings and judgments (His testing), in our lives are not understood. What is the meaning of life?  Life is one big test from God not to see if He can trick us or set us up for failure, oh no our life is a series of many tests to see if we can qualify and be approved for what God has for us in our next life to come.  May we be found faithful.