Monday, October 7, 2019

A Faith Test

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

The way we came to know God is through the exercise of faith.  The way we develop our spiritual strength and knowledge of God is through faith.  The way we began is the way we continue. For some, after receiving Christ by grace through faith, they begin the futile practice of trying to please God and grow through religion.  God is not pleased with religion in place of faith.  As a matter of fact, the Bible says in Hebrews 11:6 "Without faith it is impossible to please God."  You can do the right thing and still not be pleasing God because you’re not doing it in faith. You are trying to be in control instead of letting God be in control.  
The real test of faith comes separate from religious duty, service or actions - A faith test is when our concept of God and the reality of our lives conflict and we can’t understand why something is happening. If we had really had our way, our faith would never be tested…but God would never have the chance to prove that faith worked.  Our declarations of faith would ring hollow. We would simply be echoing empty religious clich├ęs learned in church and Sunday School.  No skeptic is ever convinced or won over by that kind of faith.
God builds our faith by testing it. 
Faith is like a muscle and when it’s stretched, and it’s pulled then it develops - And your faith develops as it is tested. The testing of your faith is more about who God is than who we are. 
God’s desire is that we know Him and experience His goodness in our lives. The positive end of a test of faith may not be a change in circumstance but a greater knowledge of God and His love and power in our lives. 
Four Ways God Fortifies Our Faith
·      By Testing Our Obedience – Sometimes God will ask us to do things that seem impossible in our human minds.  And they are impossible in our human strength.  But in Christ, and through faith in Him, all things are possible.  Having faith is like taking a risk, stepping blindly off the side of a cliff.  We can’t see what is ahead or understand it at all, but we trust our Heavenly Father.  
·      By Providing for our Problems – Nothing ever happens by accident.  Every single thing happens for a purpose – even the hard things. But God’s hand on our lives provides protection, provision, and purpose.  The times when we have to fully rely on God are always the hardest.  We know better, we have extraordinary faith when life is running like a well-oiled machine, but when we have to truly rest and trust in Him for something, sometimes we struggle.  Ok, actually we beg, cry, doubt, negotiate, and slump into a heap of discouragement.  Then when He provides, we marvel in awe and wonder at the miraculous work of His hand.  I do love it when I get it though.  I have those moments when God totally comes through in a God way and I get it.  I see that it was Him providing and telling me that He will take care of me. 
·      By Using Our Resources – God expects us to use our resources in a way that is glorifying to Him.  He expects us to be good stewards of our money – His money.  It’s interesting that in giving God not only tests our faith, but the Bible says in Malachi that giving tests God. "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. (Malachi 3:10)
·      By Making us Wait – If every prayer were answered immediately, we wouldn’t need faith, or God.  It is in the times of waiting that we press into Him the most.  God wants our faith to grow and He wants us to learn to trust Him.  It pays to be patient. Just remember this: While you are waiting God is working. You’re not waiting alone. Waiting in faith God is working. God is doing things behind the scenes, in your heart and other people’s hearts that you cannot even see. 
If we really want to learn to live by faith I’ve got to learn to rejoice continually. We have to learn to obey immediately. We have to give generously. And we must learn to wait patiently. 
God’s encouragement to us again and again in the Bible is, don’t give up. Look up to God and realize that He is with you. As you and I wait on Him He not only increases our faith, but He works out His plan. 

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