Friday, October 17, 2008

Test me, O Lord…Examine my heart and my mind

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you will as well.

In Psalm 26:2, King David prayed a prayer that each of us should pray daily. He asked God to test him and to examine his heart and mind: Test me, O Lord… examine my heart and my mind. Psalm 26:2 NIV

Are you going through a test? Tests demonstrate what you've learned. Until you're tested you really don't know what you know - and what you don't know. Tests are opportunities to prove your maturity and your potential.

God's not a hard-hearted parent who enjoys seeing His children struggle through life's tests. If He were to visit you in person He'd probably say: "I don't enjoy making you go through this, but it's the only way to prove you're ready for what's ahead. Before I can use you greatly - I must test you thoroughly." Generally God's tests are about your character. And like any good actor in a stage play that doesn't go according to the script, your job is to "stay in character!" Regardless of what anyone else does, follow God's script for your life.

Let's look ten of the test that the Lord may use to examine our hearts and minds:

(1) The test of small things. This test comes when we're asked to do something beneath our ability and potential. It proves how faithful we are to our commitments. It also reveals whether or not we're ready for greater responsibilities. Jesus said, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much" (Luke 16:10 NIV).

(2) The motive test. This test comes to us when we are doing all the right things - but not necessarily for all the right reasons. It's right to pray. Yet Jesus warned: "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love… to be seen by men" (Matthew 6:5 NIV). Sometimes we don't even know our own hearts. That's why we need the mirror of God's Word: "For the word of God is… able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12 NAS). When you stand before Christ to be evaluated and rewarded, the question will not just be what did you do, but why did you do it?

(3) The stewardship test. Jesus said, "Give, and it will be given to you" (Luke 6:38 NIV).
Only when your hand is open, can you receive more from God. The practice of giving on a regular basis prevents you from being owned by what you own. Money is called currency because it's supposed to flow through you. When you withhold out of fear or greed, you limit what God wants to give you. Want to keep the flow of blessing going in your life? Become a river, not a reservoir.

(4) The wilderness test. This test comes when we feel Spiritually dry and our joy level is low. It reveals our ability to adapt to adversity and change, and as a result enter a new level of growth. It proves we're able to perform even when life isn't fun. "He led you through the vast and dreadful desert… to… test you so that in the end it might go well with you" (Deuteronomy 8:15-16 NIV). The wilderness test is where we submit to short-term pain, confident that in the end it'll produce long-term gain.

(5) The credibility test. Nothing matters more than your confidence before God - and your credibility before people. When Lot tried to rescue his sons-in-law from the destruction of Sodom: "He seemed as one that mocked" (Genesis 19:14). They'd probably seen his selfish treatment of his Uncle Abraham, and heard about his shady business dealings. As a result he lost his credibility when it mattered most. Is that happening to you?

(6) The authority test. Before Paul took the Gospel to the Gentiles he first went to Jerusalem and submitted his plan to the apostles, asking for their blessing. He had no: "Nobody is going to tell me what to do" attitude. God placed David under a flawed leader called Saul. It's pretty bad when your boss wants to kill you. But you can learn as much from the mistakes of a failure as you can from the achievements of a success. Because David submitted, he qualified to sit on Saul's throne. Want to be a leader? Learn to be a follower. Submit!

(7) The offence test. Jesus said, "Offences will come" (Luke 17:1).
So be ready! Those who lead always take the worst of the flack. The front line is no place for the weak-willed or the weak-kneed. So, what are you going to do when offences come? Get mad and get nowhere? Get even and get into trouble? Or get over it by practicing forgiveness. "If you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins" (Mark 11:25 NIV).

(8) The warfare test. This test is for those who claim to be strong in faith, but prove to be weak in fight. "When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, 'If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt'" (Exodus 13:17 NIV). Now, you haven't been called to be insensitive and abrasive, but if your destiny is worth pursuing - it's worth fighting for! So, toughen up! It's a battlefield, not a bed of roses. You must engage the enemy each day using each Spiritual weapon at your disposal. If you don't he'll steal every God-given blessing you've got, including your identity, your testimony, your integrity, your family, your calling, and your future. This test demonstrates your ability to continue in your vision even while you're experiencing disappointment and opposition. So remember, the level of attack is the best indicator as to the level of blessing that waits for you beyond the attack!

(9) The test of time. This test has two dimensions. One reveals the strength of your life's impact, the other reveals the length of it. Each calls for signing your signature with excellence on all you put your hand to. The electric light still burns even though Edison has left the building. The needy are still being cared for even though General Booth is in Heaven. Now, your legacy may not reach those heights, but your influence can outlive you. And the test of time has a second dimension - an eternal one. How you live your life today determines your rewards and status in Heaven. "Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you'll be found out" (1 Corinthians 3:12-13 TM).

(10) The Lordship test. Simon Peter passed this test by obeying a command that seemed to make no sense at all: Jesus said to him, "'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.' Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.' When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break" (Luke 5:4-6 NIV).

First Peter tried fishing alone and failed. Next he tried it with Jesus and succeeded. Same fisherman. Same boat. Same nets. What changed? He was willing to do it God's way! If you want to succeed, talk to God, listen to what He has to say - and do it! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty


Treasure Seeker said...

This is something I am going to keep. Goodeat from the word today.

Thank you!
Love you forever and always!

Anonymous said...

GOOD STUFF. Some of those I did not like reading but I guess those are the ones I need the most.

Thanks bro.

Courtney W said...

This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today. And, I must admit, I haven't been reading your blogs lately just because I tell myself I'm too busy. =( But as I was checking my email today something told me I needed to read your blog today. And I am so glad that I did!

Right now I am in that wilderness test. It sometimes feel like I am moving towards that warfare test, as well. You blog reminded me that when times are dry and I can't seem to find my joy that I can put my confidence in my faithful God...knowing that this isn't the end and He will see me through it and make me a better person for it.

Thanks again for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit in what you write in your blogs. I will be sure to not miss a day again!

Love you,

Courtney Wilson

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Thank you. Larry H

LAURIE said...

Wow, makes me wonder what kind of grade God would give me. Makes me want to pay attention more and become a better student of the Word. -Blessings.

Rick Bruce said...

Thank you, Pastor. I feel I am being called and this post helps to both confirm and support. It is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Once again, God is speaking to me through you. I can't thank you enough. I love you, my brother.