Life is full of tests. The harder we try, the more we can feel under the pump. Surely there is a spiritual dimension.
Tests are part of life. But what do I mean by tests? Those times we’re pushed to and even beyond our limits – these are tests. But more than that. We also know of those times when we sidestep the danger and walk away as a metaphorical landmine explodes, the shrapnel just missing us as it careens off objects nearby.
Tests are what would be temptations – to inappropriate emotional responses as much as overt sin (as if inappropriate emotional responses aren’t obvious sins). Tests are also what we would call pressure. And, with all its distractions and competing forces, today’s world is as much a pressure cooker as ever.
Expect the Test
Expectations are strange things. Expect privilege, respect, praise, and for all things to go well, and we’re sharply disappointed nearly every time. Yet, expect hardship and we find that is the way to peace.
Expect to be tested – every single day – and many days you’ll experience bliss. Most of all, in expecting to be tested we’re readier for them. Expect nothing less.
See the Test
The gift of discernment is a wisdom gift that is given freely by God if we ask for it. If we ask and seek, we’ll find it. Seeing tests is about differentiating true threats from nothing. It’s that self-knowledge that confirms how the enemy of God would seek to test us.
Another person’s test won’t affect us as much. The enemy of God knows what pushes our buttons; where our pride is at, what makes us envious, what angers us, and what causes us to resist God, etc. But we know, with God on our side, we can see these tests and meet them.
Meet the Test
Okay, the rubber hits the road. The test is here. Selected for us, pointed right at us, in primetime, where, when and how we’re most vulnerable; that’s where it’s at. Why? Because, we probably won’t initially, and perhaps for years, even decades… but, we can overcome. We can expect, see, meet, and overcome the tests that were customised just for us.
Why does God allow His enemy to test us? For our character development. Because He loves us, and he who made us in His own image, strives to perfect us. He believes we can overcome and He gives us His overcoming power when we use His wisdom.
Overcome the Test
The key to overcoming tests – apart from expecting them, seeing them, and meeting them properly – is the purity and innocence that doesn’t resent them. God wants us to grow up. The sign He looks for in our maturing is that unflappable persona we have when we joyously wish to please Him.
Expecting the test, seeing it as it approaches, ready to meet it, standing amid its pressure – it takes the courage of humility. It takes more self-control than action, indeed it is often inaction (but not always) as we get out of the way of the test. Overcoming tests is intrinsically and intensely spiritual in orientation.
Expect hardship, see it as it comes, meet it humbly and courageously, and we can overcome the test.