Week of April 7
"His 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 man's work." ~ 1 Corinthians 3:13
New beginnings excite us, and we are awed when the Holy Spirit touches us with new assignments and fresh revelations through God's word or in another creative way. But have you noticed that after you receive these assignments and revelations, you are put to a test?
Tests are necessary to train us and to strengthen us for the purpose of advancing our own spirit, soul and body as well as to advance those things outside of ourselves, like other people, nations, businesses, communities, ministries, careers, even a geographic region. God will test our obedience to His directives, and He will use other people and circumstances in the process (Judges 3:1-4).
Because of their "unknown" nature, tests usually provoke fear and anxiety within us. We only have to look as far as our last exam administered in school or college as a simple example. God uses tests to challenge us to overcome obstacles (like lack of knowledge), to position us to trust Him in new areas so that, with Him, we can accomplish new assignments. Though the test-taking process can, at times, feel either burdensome or exhilarating, once we pass, we advance to the next level, where we will again be tested. Entrepreneurs frequently experience this process in business as they journey from visions to ventures.
If you look up the word "test" in any dictionary, you will find a long list of definitions. Here of some of the ones I like from Encarta: "An often difficult situation or event that will provide information about somebody or something; a procedure to ascertain the presence of or the properties of a particular substance; a declaration, demonstration, or oath of conformity or loyalty; to make considerable demands on somebody, particularly somebody's skills or abilities; testimony; testament."
David earnestly invited and submitted to God's examination in Psalms 139:23-24 saying, ". . . test me and know my anxious thoughts . . ." The NIV note to this scripture is particularly interesting. It adds, "It is no light matter to be examined by God."
Has your work been tested lately? How about your marriage? What about your patience? Have you withstood the fire? Or do you feel like you've failed miserably?
Did you choose faith or fear, trust or temptation (to give up), dedication or distraction, commitment or compromise in the process?
With God, there are no failures, only opportunities for redemption and restoration. God's grace is sufficient in our weakness. He can reset, reposition and reevaluate us. He loves us and desires for us to succeed and reach our divine destiny. And He'll give us every opportunity to get it right. All we have to do is cooperate with Him.
If we exercise our freewill, faith, trust and action according to God's plan and leading, He will meet us as He met Abraham to help us succeed. He will build our character and refine our motives along the way. And we will complete the race a winner.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ.