A Faith Test

Test DayI remember back to my grammar school days. (Yes, I can actually remember back that far.)  Of course we studied math, science, English, and the other grade school subjects. We worked our way through homework assignments and hours of classroom instruction, reading the textbooks and absorbing information. Then at long last, there would come a day of reckoning. Test Day.  That was the day we were put through our paces, our teachers eager to see how much knowledge we had retained.  Our test results would help them determine if we were ready to go to the next level of instruction or if we needed to go back and review.

Being a Christian is like that in many ways. We profess our faith in Jesus Christ and learn to walk with Him in a relationship.  We read the Bible in order to train ourselves in right living, and we spend time with other believers working out how to put into practice the things we’ve learned.  And then one day we find ourselves challenged with something we’re not sure we’re prepared for. It’s Faith Test Day.

Beth Moore has described going through a Faith Test like this:

“God pulled, prodded and elasticized my faith until it had stretch marks. Take heart! Faith unchallenged is faith stifled.” – Believing God

I know what you’re thinking. That’s a pop-quiz that you could just as well do without! But I’ll bet you are stronger than you think, and He’d like to prove it to you. The scripture is full of stories of men and women who were tested by difficult circumstances, and whose faith-walk became stronger and more fruitful as a result. They believed the promises of God for grace in the time of need and He sustained them and faithfully kept them through it all.

So, what is God looking for when a person is allowed to go through a Faith Test?  Here are three things to keep in mind: Obedience, Endurance and Fruitfulness.

Faith Tested Produces Obedience Our professed faith (that is, what we say we believe) is challenged by requiring us to act in a tangible way to demonstrate it.  So if we believe God will take care of us, a Faith Test asks us to demonstrate it.  A good role model for this is Abraham–he was called by God to leave everything he knew and go to the place where God promised to bless him.  “Even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8), Abraham trusted God and obeyed.  If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have been in a position to receive God’s blessing. And because of this, not only was he blessed, but all people of the world have been blessed through him. He is considered the father of our faith and through his lineage the Messiah was born. (Romans 4)

Faith Tested Produces Endurance There are times when our faith is stretched by drawn out periods of preparation. In the book of Genesis, God warned Noah about coming destruction and gave him the blueprint for escape. Noah was challenged constantly by the culture around him. How it could have worn him down!  But he persevered and got stronger!  After many years of faithful preparation, the time had come. No one had even seen a flood before, but Noah believed God when He told him a flood was coming. And because he acted in faith, the ark he built saved his family and preserved a people.

Faith Tested Produces Fruitfulness When we are in the middle of a Faith Test, it forces us to look at where our source of strength comes from. At times, God prunes us and cuts out all the dead wood (John 15), which forces us to grow in a way that we may not have done otherwise.  And the end result is a more productive life, filled with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

 Going through a Faith Test isn’t always easy, but it’s essential.  God wants to produce obedience, endurance and fruitfulness in our lives, and He’s the Master Teacher!  He’s given us our homework assignments, and then the day of testing comes.  That’s when we’re put through our paces, our Teacher eager for us to see how much knowledge we’ve retained. I would venture to say that He knows we have it in us and He wants us to know it too.  We may be like Beth Moore and get a few stretch marks from the exercise!  But those will be well earned reminders of how we’ll we did and how strong we’ve become.

© 2013 Renee Dallas

For Moms NEXT, Newport Mesa Church 2013.

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