When I was in elementary, the big thing was learning the 'times table'. My parents, in an effort to motivate me, said if I learned the tables, I would get a new watch as a reward. I studied real diligently and after much time, memorized my 'times' and passed the test at school. Thus - I got my watch! Hallelujah!
Do you recall being in school? The study time, preparing for a test and then taking the examination were exhausting! Perhaps you are in school right now, faced with these exact circumstances, you know what I'm saying! Taking a test can be strenuous.
Being a Christian adult, I am now faced with different kinds of tests. Spiritual tests, we call trials. You know the kind...where you've prayed and asked the Lord to help you 'love' someone that's not very nice. Then it appears as if they just get worse and continually get on your nerves. That's the test! Can you 'love' them even when they are annoying? Is it possible to reach deep down within and find that 'agape' love for that person? Or the financial test...praying for a specific amount necessary for a need. Then waiting for the Lord God to send the money, staying in faith and resisting fear. And what about the forgiving test? A great offense came from someone really close. With hurt feelings and humility we have to approach God forgiving the offender. I call these kinds of trials 'character building'.
Romans 5:3-4 says, "...knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." Tests help us to develop areas in our life that make us more like Christ. It's learning to apply the Word of God to our thoughts and our behavior conforming them to the will of God.
2 Cor. 10:5 "casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ," and Rom. 12:1-2 "...you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
The character trials will equip us for life challenges. We will encounter many more along the way. It's imperative that we pass these 'tests', otherwise, we find ourself retaking them over and over again, until we succeed. So the next time you're faced with the feeling of frustration, anxiety, or the like, stop, recognize the test and pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you pass the trial. James 1:3-4 said, "Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing." Pass the Test!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."