When we go to make purchases, we trust that what we buy has been tested. We know or hope that what we take and consume has gone through strict processing. We can go to markets and make purchases where there is no such testing, and we will unknowingly buy counterfeit items or items that contain harmful substances.
In our human wisdom we see the need for testing, how much more the Lord?
The Lord tests us for two reasons. He tests to make sure we are His and to refine us. There are two areas He tests. Our heart and our mind. Our heart will reveal loyalty, and our mind the determination of our will.
Often, we believe our heart is devoted to God, but we love and are loyal to other things above God. As saints of God, we must understand that our hearts will deceive us – if we let them. To have a heart devoted to God we must not trust our (carnal) heart. We seek to hear and know the Lord’s heart and find out what this is in His Word. We are misled through emotions thinking that since we feel love for God, we love Him. There are emotionally led and driven churches everywhere. I remember hearing a sorrowful story about a man who was (seemingly) devoted to his very beautiful wife until she suffered a massive stroke. He left her and went on with another beautiful woman. His heart and mind was revealed in this test. When our heart is rooted in wrong places towards God, we will be no different.
When we make up our mind to do something, we will do it. Our mind holds much power in us. It will make us or break us. It all depends upon what we allow in it. When we obey the Lord’s Word, our minds are washed (Eph 5:26), and we are renewed; Eph 4:20-24. Jesus Christ is the Word (John 1:1-5), and His Word will shape our thinking. Yet if we have not settled in us where our heart lies, we will be like one who is double-minded; James 1:8, James 4:7-8. We will be unstable and easily swayed by the god of this world; 1 John 5:18-20. Our mind – is our will. If we are not willing, we will not do what the Word says. Our will, if left to ourselves, will always be about pleasing Self. To renew our minds is to pour into them the Word of God. Our thinking must be changed so that we may DO what is right by it. This requires discipline. We are promised that if we dedicate our minds to the Word, we will be transformed by it into the image and glory of Christ; Rom 12:1-2, 2 Cor 3:17-18.
God tests all who are His. His testing comes in the form of chastening through various ways and means. Grief and loss are one area. When something of great value has been lost to us, whether it be a loved one, possessions, or career, it brings us a time of testing. Some of us will be like that man, and when the going gets tough, we too will flee from the Lord. I’ve seen this happen a great deal with many who say they love God. When the bomb of infidelity in the marriage, death of children, and workplace disaster came, they ran and reached for everything and everyone other than the Lord.
The Lord not only tests us, but He desires to take us into the deeper places in Him. He wants us to go with Him in the ‘fellowship of His sufferings; 1 Pet 4:12-14, Phil 3:9-11. Not because He is some crazed deity that desires those who are His to suffer, but for the opportunity that we may join Him in the place where He suffered. This place is the most intimate of places where He shares His heart with us. It is a miraculous place because the loss we have incurred becomes filled with Him, and we receive His joy in it. We grieve with Him as we feel the loss He felt on the cross. Our healing comes when we identify what has happened to us with the Lord. In this place, we are cross–focused on the testing the Lord brings us and will not be snared into it being all about us, which will take us places that will only turn us from the Lord..
Proving our Faith
When we have been met with challenging life circumstances, the Lord observes, waiting for those who are His to prove their love and faithfulness to Him. We will either become richer for it in the Kingdom of God or reveal that we have no part in His Kingdom because we are not willing to leave our own kingdoms behind.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Is 48:10
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings. Jer 17:10