December 6, 2008

Passing the test

One test of walking with the Lord is the question: What am I doing that would be impossible if God was not involved? In some situations, a better question might be: What am I not doing that I would be if God was not controlling my life?

I’ve thrown around yesterday’s decision considerably since I made it. Today my devotional reading and these questions merge together and assure me that my decision was from God. If God were not involved, this would not be an issue; I’d have simply said yes to the invitation and disregarded His Word.

Another assurance is in the battle I’ve had with it. The Bible says that the Spirit and the flesh are in conflict with one another. If they were not, I’d worry. However, this battle between the Spirit and my flesh is another proof that God is involved in the decision.

I suppose my problem is that I’m a bit shocked that my flesh or sinful nature was so quick to jump in with wanting to do something that the Bible says I should not do. I agree with Scripture. What then is at the root of wanting to give in to this latest temptation? Or is God just trying to teach me to carefully examine all things according to His Word, not relying at all on what seems to “feel right” but on what He says?

What I do know about this test is that when I stick with my decision, I’m at peace and filled with joy. But if I begin to second-guess myself, I become agitated and unsure, and joy flies out the window. This ‘fruit of the Spirit’ is another indication that my emotions must take second place. If I pay attention to what the Bible says, God will take care of how I feel.

This morning’s reading is a long passage. Through it, God gives me more assurance that when my faith in Him is tested, there will be a reward for passing that test. The passage says:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)
Peter’s second sentence describes the mild stress I feel over this trial, but quickly adds that the genuineness of my faith is more precious than anything else, and as I trust God on this and all other matters, it will bring praise to my Savior.

This is about faith, and isn’t faith about believing what God says simply because God says it? I don’t need to see the reasons or the results. I cannot see Him either, yet when I believe Him, He rewards me. I also realize that He is at work in me, giving me that inexpressible joy and helping me understand that what He asks of me is His will for right now. Further, obedience will bring future blessing, not only promoting my soul’s salvation, but also glorifying Jesus Christ!

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