Time of Testing

By Scarlett Stough

A mechanical mop I bought broke the fourth or fifth time I used it. The trigger mechanism failed. My husband took it apart only to find the working parts were of such inferior quality, the tool was impossible to repair. It simply was not strong enough to hold up over time. It failed the test of regular use.

Jesus talked about people who “believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away (Luke 8:13.)” Our problem is not one of inferior workmanship. The human body and mind are a marvel of workmanship which can last for over a hundred years if properly maintained in a healthy environment. God has made his Spirit available to those who accept a relationship of faith with him. This faith relationship, unless we maintain it, can fail.

God has made the sustaining of our faith a simple process, but this faith is essential to pleasing God and to our spiritual health. Faith is sustained by remaining connected to its source, Jesus: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me (John 15:4.)”

Receiving Jesus’ words with joy is only the start. We have to prepare to hold on through the troubles of life. Often the biggest tests for us are not the terminal illnesses or losing a job or trying to meet the family’s needs on too small an income; often the test we fail is the test of remembering the source of all the blessings God has provided and is providing. When we have the good job, the health, and family harmony, we can allow those very blessings to distract us from sustaining our relationship with God. Riches and pleasures can be more of a distraction than worries and suffering. Jesus said in his Parable of the Sower and the Seed:

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature (Luke 8:14.)

There is a similar warning in Deuteronomy 8:11-18:

Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, than your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God…You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers as it is today.

In the United States of America, as our standard of living increased, our faith in God has decreased. As our knowledge of and faith in God decreases, our sins increase and the consequences of those sins grow more destructive to our family, society and our economy. Too often even our prayers are focused on what can God do for us, rather than on confessing our ingratitude and selfishness.

God allows “make-up tests.” He is more than willing to give us another opportunity to hold up under testing. The way to pass his tests is to set our minds to “hear the word, retain it (Luke 8:15)” and persevere through good times and bad, through drought and flood, through joy and sorrow, and whatever situations we face throughout our lives. God does exist, and he does reward those who earnestly seek to please him (Hebrews 11:6.)

Volume 10 Issue 9 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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