“The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 13:3b NIV).
Fellow brethren, I would like to reiterate that the subject line for our weekly articles on this website is given every Saturday evening to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. As it is, the Lord is also responsible for the visions that we share on this website. Therefore, those who have been looking forward for visions from the Lord on this website, please pray and be patient; the Lord will provide as He wills. He is surely testing many of us, knowing that people only like to read His visions and not His messages. The Lord is testing our faith!
Furthermore, the messages that we present here might not be new, but they are refreshing as we also include some practical visions and messages from the Lord, including actual experiences to augment our message.
Why Does God Test Us?
In last week's article, we discussed how God does not create evil nor tempt us to do evil (James 1:13). The Bible also warns us against testing God (Deuteronomy 6:16; Matthew 4:7). However, God does test us, and in this article we will discuss how to know when He is testing us.
The dictionary defines test as when "the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial or process of assessing".
God searches the hearts – He sees, hears and knows ALL things (Jeremiah 17:10; Romans 8:27; Hebrews 4:13; 1 John 3:20; Rev 2:2, 19; 3:15); He does not test us in order to learn or know what we do, but He does this to humble us, so that in the end it is for OUR OWN GOOD, that all may go well with us (Deuteronomy 8:16; Job 7:17-18 NKJV).
Some of the reasons why The Lord tests us or allows us to be tested include the following:
1. To see if we will be obedient and follow His commands:
- Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions (Exodus 16:4).
- “…I will use them [the nations Joshua left when he died] to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did” (Judges 2:22; 3:1, 4).
- “On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
- Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning” (Exodus 20:20).
- But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him [King Hezekiah] about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart (2 Chronicles 32:31).
- Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts (Psalm 139:23).
- “You must not listen to the words of that [false] prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep His commands and obey Him; serve Him and hold fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 13:3-4).
- Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12).
- “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 (1 Peter 1:6-7 NKJV).
- Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph's character (Psalm 105:19 NLT).
Similarly, in our everyday relationship with our families and friends, what shows our interest in them is what we do for them; they value and respond to that. Abraham’s faith was an act of obedience and an expression of love to God (Genesis 26:5; John 14:15). It must be remembered that the Christian faith involves test and such tests measure our faith, attitudes and seriousness in our relationship with God (Jeremiah 17:10). When we are being tested, we always respond from our self-will (Luke 22:42). In this regard, our will is in agreement with God’s command in an active response which we know as faith.
How Do You Know God is Testing You?
We should not blame God when bad things happen. This often happens when we confuse being tested by God with falling into temptation, and suffering the consequences of our own folly, sins or unbelief as a result of allowing Satan to wreak havoc in our lives.
Usually, God's testing can come in two ways: Firstly, we can ask the Lord to test our faithfulness, as David did, when he asked The Lord to examine his heart and mind and determine that he was true to Him (Psalm 26:2; 139:23). Secondly, The Lord can also test us, or allow us to be tested, as He pleases – as was the case with Job (Job 1:12), Abraham, and the Israelites.
When many people go through testing and trials, they immediately start to complain, have strife, feel pity, or look to others for help or "bail-out", when all that is needed is to have faith, pray and look to God instead. For example, when the Israelites were tested at the Waters of Marah and Elim, they grumbled and complained against Moses. But Moses cried out to the Lord who showed him a piece of wood which he threw in the water and the water became drinkable (Exodus 15:22-26).) Moses trusted God and his faith was an act of obedience. These tests are opportunities to show and grow good fruit.
So, how can we tell whether God is truly testing us? Here are some of the ways to identify when our testing is from God:
- When trials come your way even though you are walking blameless and upright, fearing God and shunning evil (Job 1:8; Daniel 3:17-18).
- When you are genuinely and sincerely seeking a closer walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, and ask Him to examine your heart (Psalm 17:3).
- When the Lord has made specific promises to you, you believe, and trials come your way before the promises are fulfilled, as was was the case with Joseph (Psalm 105:19 NLT).
- When, after seeking the Lord, we get into situations where we must make a choice between right and wrong (Daniel 6:6-13). God is pleased with integrity (1 Chronicles 29:17a) and never tempts us to do anything wrong (James 1:13).
- God tests our hearts (our desire for Him and our obedience to His word) leading to a closer relationship with Him and salvation of our souls (1 Chronicles 29:17a; 1 Pet 1:6-9); Satan tempts our hearts in order to lead us away from God and His will (Matthew 4:1-11), causing us to desire and pursue worldliness (including material or outward things and spiritual falsehood), and eventually end up in hell (Romans 6:23).
Brief Testimony on God Testing Us
Briefly, as a family and ministry we have been subjected to many tests from the Lord and I have well chronicled most of them in an article titled Obedience Through Test. We often don’t know when God is testing us. He can use anybody and any situation, for example: a beggar asking for money (Acts 3:1-5); or someone losing their money bag and you knowingly picked it up but kept quiet; someone cursing you and you retaliate (2 Samuel 16:5-13); you are lied to and flow with it (1 Kings 13:16-18); or you are in a situation where you feel “stuck” and need God help but you don’t faithfully pray (2 Chronicles 16:12).
Admittedly, tests are not always pleasant experiences; however the testing of our faith is part of the Christian walk, and it produces good fruit such as patience/perseverance (James 1:3). By the test, God is refining our faith (Psalm 66:10; Job 23:10; Zechariah 13:9). It is necessary for one simple reason: to see if we trust and agree with God; after the testing the Lord has reserved a blessing (Hebrews 12:2; 2 Timothy 4:8). While the Lord is going to reward us (materially or otherwise), spiritually our relationship with Him is growing in love, trust and obedience. Test from God is not a torment or suffering, but a test of obedience and endurance. During testing, we are ‘pruned’ to obey and surrender fully to God. He is teaching us to put our reliance on Him (Deuteronomy 8:2).
Before the Lord blessed us with our own vehicle, my wife and I, along with our ministry people, walked back and forth between our witnessing destinations and home. There were also times after our evening prayers when my wife and I would walk our fellow prayer partners home, leaving each person in front of their homes before we made our way back home. Those were times of great test; God saw our commitment and He graciously blessed us with our own means of transport.
In addition, one of our tests that the Lord gave us was that we should take in and care for a mother, her two children, and two additional girls – five people in total. I earned about $80 a month, from which we had to reserve for my monthly transportation costs to work and our mortgage. It was little but we had contentment and peace. Through all these, the Lord was faithful to provide and supply all of our needs (Philippians 4:19); we made it through by His grace!
In conclusion, brothers and sisters, the Lord tests us for our good. He has also promised us that “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13). So,let us be encouraged to stand firm in our faith and persevere through tests from the Lord, or trials and temptations from the enemy, that we may receive the victor’s crown that the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12).
May God’s tests refine you like silver and test you like gold, that the genuineness of your faith – which is of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proven and result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (Psalm 66:10; Zechariah 13:9; 1 Peter 1:7).
Have you been going through tests and trials lately? If you desire true refuge in a close relationship with the Lord Jesus, here is a
God’s peace and abundant grace be upon you,