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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Passing the Test

Wouldn’t we love to go through life without encountering obstacles? Sometimes they come so unexpectedly, so painfully, and upset our equilibrium. But as we walk with the Lord, we recognize that he is equipping us for every test that comes our way and has beautiful purpose in our steep struggles.

When troubles come, we tend to run to the circuit of old mindsets – beliefs about ourselves, about life, about God. This is a wonderful opportunity to question old beliefs, to looks at things differently and to find the mind of Christ promised to us (1 Cor. 2:16). Testing is one of the primary ways God helps us develop in maturity and in the virtues of the Spirit as we respond to him in faith and refuse bitterness.

Peter (1 P 1:6-7) tells us to rejoice – yes rejoice! – when we find ourselves grieved by various trials for a while. Why? Because the genuineness of our faith, though tested by fire, results in glory and honor to the Lord Jesus. This is sometimes hard for us to recognize when we are in the fire and are looking for a way out of the heat. But it’s the fire that purifies us and leaves us with greater freedom.

Recently I watched a couple go through a fire where they were wronged and there was no remedy. They chose to submit to the situation, surrendering to the Lord as they trusted in his goodness to bring things around for their good. And, very importantly, they refused bitterness. They didn’t become victims of the situation, but rather are positioning themselves for elevation by demonstrating humility and honor. God allowed them to be tried because he trusts them and is inviting them into a deeper place of trust and a higher place of service.

Testing often comes just before a significant breakthrough. Jesus’ testing in the wilderness was preparatory to beginning his three-year ministry of miracles. Israel’s wilderness trek was a testing to reveal their hearts (Deut. 8:2) and ultimately to bring them to the land promised them. Joseph’s time in prison prepared him to become a ruler in Egypt, saving his people.

When we are tested and exert moral effort to choose well, remaining in a position of trust, we are expanding our capacity to receive more from the Lord. Even Jesus himself learned obedience by the things he suffered (Heb. 5:8). In the same way, we learn the joy of obedience as God tests and refines us, preparing us for greater things, expanding our capacity to receive more.

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