Bits ‘n Pieces
This is the month of our celebration of Easter. A joyous time of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the people of God because of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, risen from the dead! He is the ever living one. His life is reflected in every part of our lives as His redeemed. Accordingly His word, the Scriptures we call the Bible, is alive and is applied to our lives as the Holy Spirit exerts His power within us. One of the many “proofs” of our living God is how He makes Scripture alive when we read it. Things jump off the page during our time in the inerrant Word. Just such an example I want to share with you this month. In Deuteronomy 13 I read the following:
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
What really jumped out at me was “for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you
love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul”. This prompted me to
wonder if our Heavenly Father is “testing” us today. Should I be aware that God is “testing”
us now? Even more to the point should I be living my life with the expectation and assurance that He is “testing” me?
The Apostle Paul adds this to our discussion:
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay straw, each man’s work will become evident for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each mans work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.
The above passage certainly talks about how our works will be tested after we have lived on this earth but what about now? Thankfully, Paul is not through with this subject for us. Listen to the following:
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize
this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5.
Now, Paul is giving us an imperative that we must test ourselves! The implication of what he is saying is that our faith in Jesus Christ causes us to examine ourselves to find the fruit of our salvation. This participation in living our faith is inevitable if we are linked with Jesus Christ in a saving faith relationship. The connection with the Deuteronomy passage is that if we love God we will live according to His commands. Remember that the reason for the test is to prove your love to God, “for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Understand that this is exactly the place of spiritual warfare. It is the devil’s desires that you hear the distraction that shouts: “This cannot be what the Lord God is doing with His people today. This is
soooo…… Old Testament and smacks of a works salvation. Our answer: “If the passages above mean that works earn salvation the question would be true. But look at what it
says. The test is to find out our love for God not to get the love of God. The devil lies, the world hates and the flesh rationalizes the word of God. So our heavenly Father “tests” us
and His testing of His children is a great blessing to us in many ways. Saving faith in God results in love of God within us and it always produces obedience for Him. The Holy Spirit’s work in our lives always leads us the same way.
As Paul says:
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is
God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse
generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.” Philippians 2:12-18.
I would challenge you to look at testing, now, in a different light. Testing, an opportunity for those loved by the Savior to show love to the Savior. All these things we have in Christ
Jesus because He is risen, He is risen indeed!