WHEN GOD TESTS OUR FAITH
Carlos Padilla, March 2011
God is the person who has gone through the greatest possible test
ever when He accepted that His only begotten Son, who offered Himself out of His
own will, would come to the enemy world, leaving His throne of glory next to
the Father and would die on the Cross on Golgotha for the sins of the world, for
us who have received the gift of faith and have believed in Him whilst we were
sinners, not deserving reconciliation with God.
Christ has also gone through another test of similar magnitude, having to offer
Himself to the Father in our place, to offer Himself for many who reject Him,
but He was moved to mercy seeing the result in all of us who love Him, and that
mercy, that love of God for us was stronger than the test, and He accepted.
Before the foundation of the world, He accepted dying on the Cross, 1 Peter 1:19-20.
Holy Spirit is also going through the test every day, with and for every one of us,
interceding for us, fighting against our flesh, against our mind, against our
spiritual weakness in order to get us through on the Way to God, in Christ,
until His return. His is all the merit of our Christian life, He looks after us
every day, protects us, forgives us, comforts us, intercedes for us and loves
us. This is God's work, that we believe in His son Jesus Christ, and that we
live a life of spiritual plenitude led by His Spirit.
the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, have decided to go through these major tests
even whilst being in their deity, but coming to our carnal nature, from Their
Kingdom, with Their peace and holy life, not sparing anything to come to a
rebellious humanity that goes against God, but God has a special trait that
is lacking in our society and that only the Church can transmit to change
people who listen with faith: God's love. A love that overcomes every test
because it is focused on something higher than our own selves, God and our neighbour
to become a part of an eternal and just Kingdom.
test of God's fiery furnace - Daniel - the Christian's training experience, the way to forge a new heart to God's image and likeness. It is not
possible to experience any growth as God's children without being tested. Jesus was tested
when He was starting His ministry, taken by the Spirit to the wilderness to be tempted
by the devil. Likewise, we will be delivered to temptation but God will not
allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able. 1 Corinthians 10:13. Temptations or
tests and trials are the way to forge us within. Abraham was tested when Isaac was given to
him, when God asked him to offer his son in sacrifice. Let us see under which
circumstances God tests us.
GOD TESTS US UNDER DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES
THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE IN EDEN. THE MIND.
When we make the choice of our knowledge and whom we will be
subject to - whether God or our mind, our own criteria. In Eve's choice, a
symbol of our mind, we can see the result of the world so far, the destruction of humankind that rebels against God and
is far away from His
presence, the first Adam. We all have to choose between God - our Father - and the
science of knowledge of God, without God, sin, error. Solomon received the
greatest wisdom but in spite of this he sinned in idolatry because he
did not obey God. Where is Eden today for us, where do we look for the tree of
life, in knowledge without God or in Jesus Christ?. Genesis 2
Noah built an ark to save his family; his relatives took no
notice of his warning, even though it was God's message. They did not obey and
civilization perished. He had to build it, in the middle of his test, and see everybody against him, keep his faith and obey God, in the midst of a
corrupted world contrary to God. This contrary attitude did not perish, since history
confirms the Tower of Babel, a new project that symbolizes man's
arrogance trying to show his grandeur without God, building a tower that would
reach the heavens. Today, the majority of "civilization" continues to
be God's enemy, but a large part of it, a third, awaits the Kingdom of God.
A third that is brought to be tested in their faith, Zechariah 13:1.
ABRAHAM. ISAAC'S SACRIFICE. THE HEART.
We will be tested in our blessing and victory, and we will have
to choose God again, who grants us what we longed for. Whatever it may be, we
must stop it from taking the first place in our heart. This is a lesson we must learn sooner rather than later,
since by doing so we will learn how to remove from our heart everything that we
can identify as an idol - whatever is taking priority in our
heart. The moment we realize this is happening, we must pray and cry out to God
that this does not happen. Otherwise the Lord will have to take it away
from us, and it will be more painful. We have to give God whatever, whoever we
love most. It is the only way to be able to love in a spiritual and not in a
Abraham left his country and family and he went looking for the
promised land that God was telling him, on his own with his wife, servants and
livestock. All the tests were for his blessing, even the final test when he was
given descendants from Sarah, his beloved. The Lord called him to offer Isaac,
when God saw that Abraham's heart was getting lost in his son. Genesis
22. Ruth also left everything in order to follow God. She was a
gentile woman whom God made a widow while still young. She went with her Jewish mother-in-law, Noemi, who had no more sons, and followed her and Yahweh,
her mother-in-law's God, because she had seen God's justice even though she had
lost her husband and had no children. Her faith was strong and she was rewarded.
finally married a wealthy and righteous man, Booz. They had a son, Obed, who is
Jesse's father - David's father - the line of succession of Jesus Christ the
Messiah. Ruth 4.
God tests us just like He did with Abraham. God instructs Abraham
to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham was strengthened in his relationship with
God and He will test us to strengthen us throughout our lives as a way to keep
us in holiness and with Him. This is something God does not enjoy doing but it
is necessary because He loves our souls. The result of obedience is in verse 17 in the
same chapter in Genesis:
Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply
your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the
seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
The Lord tests Abraham for the third and last time and blesses
him as representative of the behaviour He expects from nations to come who have the
same faith, Christ's faith in us. Three tests of faith, are a symbol of the
three levels of tests we must go through for our spirit,
soul and body.
JOSEPH. SOLD AS SLAVE TO SAVE HIS NATION. THE SOUL.
One of the greatest tests in the Bible is, no
doubt, Joseph's life, Jacob's favourite son and therefore
envied by his brothers, the eleven tribes of Israel. He received dreams that he
interpreted and that were the warning of God's divine plan for him and his
people, which finally depended on him. These dreams used to make his brothers
turn against him even more. In spite of this, his life is
protected by God's hand at all times, and he is successful in everything he does. When he
is sold in Egypt by the Ishmaelites whom his brothers sold him to, he is bought
by Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh's guard, where he becomes overseer of his house.
But God had another plan for him. Pothiphar's wife set her eyes on him, who
rejected her because he was a righteous man, but she accused him falsely and
for this reason he was put in jail where he served the prisoners of Pharaoh's
house. What could Joseph think, who had acted righteously with his master and
before the Lord? No doubt he thought God had forsaken him, but he did not lose
Whilst serving the prisoners, he interprets the dreams of
Pharaoh's servants, the butler and the baker. He asked the butler to remember
him, but the butler forgot once his position was restored. Joseph's correct
interpretation of these servants' dreams was his door to be called by Pharaoh,
who suffered to have the interpretation of his famous dream of the fat cows and
the thin cows which his magicians and wise men were not able to
interpret. Joseph's interpretation earned him the position of ruler of
Egypt. In the same day he saw his test accomplished, he
went from serving prisoners to governing Egypt. He succeeded in
accumulating seven years of provisions, which was God's plan so that Israel would
be able to buy food and not perish, and finally Joseph was received in his land
with all his family once they were reconciled with Joseph. Genesis 37.
The story of Esther's test in life draws a parallel of a
character of the Lord's people who accepts to live with a gentile nation as a means to save her nation. She gave herself to the king to be his wife and was
chosen to be the queen. She interceded for her nation and delivered it from the
destruction plan against Israel that had been organised by Haman, ruler of
king Ahasuerus' empire. Haman wanted to kill Mordecai, Esther's adoptive father.
But he actually wanted to wipe out the Jews from the whole empire. Mordecai had
saved the king's life and received no reward for it. God made the king sleepless
one night, and he commanded that the books of his kingdom's chronicles be read
to him, where Mordecai's action was written, so he was given the king's favour.
The queen had prepared a feast for the king and Haman, after agreeing that all
Jews would fast and pray, and she informed the king about Haman's plan. God's
hand makes the king understand and the Jews were not only saved from destruction
but also blessed in the whole empire from India to Ethiopia. Haman was killed
for being evil and merciless. It was a great test for Esther having to give her
life to the king, but her prize was the survival of her nation. Today, Jews
celebrate it in the feast of Purim. Esther 9 and 10.
These two examples of life in the world give us a perspective of
what God can do in our daily lives, in His plans for us to carry His testimony around where we live to those who do not know Him. In difficult
situations where we think that God has forgotten about us, where our plans have
not succeeded and there are unknown experiences ahead of us, the Lord has a plan
for our lives because He loves His people and ourselves.
THE WILDERNESS. MOSES INTERCEDES FOR HIS PEOPLE. INTERCESSION -
This is a major test for Moses, and for all of us. Likewise it
will be for all those who God has appointed to pastor His people, the
fellowships, the churches. When God's children sin and they turn away and
do not obey, there are two options: the first reaction can be: Let the
wrath of God be on them because they have turned away from God, and whichever
punishment they receive will be God-sent!. The other reaction, of those who
have a heart like Christ's, is to intercede for them before the Father that He
may do the work in their hearts because: ... judgment is without mercy to the
one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment, James 2:13. Otherwise,
happen with the parable of the prodigal son?, Matthew 18:10.
When we are tested for interceding and serving others in the
Church, especially when we intercede for those who are weaker in the faith, for
those who fail, for the ones that sin and repent, we are edified as priests
before God. Moses was tested for forty years in the wilderness before he was
sent to Egypt. Then he had to face Pharaoh when he did not trust his own
capacity, but he was strengthened by God to overcome this test until he trusted
God, not himself. Finally, once he was a mature believer, having led his
people out of Egypt by God's hand, whose presence was with them at all times, he interceded
for the rebellious and contradicting people.
Just like Christ is tempted for forty days in the wilderness, we
also go through a trial period as soon as we receive Christ;
this symbolic time is the forty years in the wilderness, the forty days and
forty nights. An eleven-day journey that took forty years. What does it mean?
This is something I invite you to think about.
Christ is who intercedes with His life for ours before the
Father. Moses is, therefore, a symbol of Christ at the time, the delivered from
slavery, like Christ is, the deliverer from sin. Exodus.
GIDEON. THE BATTLE WITH A SMALL ARMY. THE SIGNS OF FAITH.
When we have all the resources that give us confidence to succeed
in our projects is when God asks us not to depend on them but on Him. Whether it
may be in financial, sentimental or spiritual issues. We must get rid of
whatever we need to in order to depend upon God, a really hard task for our heart.
How come God asks Gideon to make his army smaller than his enemy's?. This is the
reason why the Word of God teaches us how difficult it is for a rich man to
enter the Kingdom of God, because he trusts riches, and they don't only include
economic wealth but also the ego, the knowledge, the power over others, etc.
Gideon obeys but he asks God for signs through the famous passage of the fleece
of wool. Once he receives the sign twice, he accepts and understand that this is
of God. We also have to go through the same test, when God tells us to do those things
that He puts before us in life and we have few resources. Judges 6:36-40 and 7.
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, said to his men before they headed
out to war facing an attack of a great multitude of the children of Ammon and
Moab, that was greater than themselves: "...Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established;
believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”
2Chronicles 20:20. And when he
had consulted with the people, he appointed some of them to sing and praise the
Lord, dressed in holy garments as they went out before the army, saying: Praise
the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.
Verse 22 is a clear example of how God blesses those who praise Him amongst
adversity. I let you read it in your Bible.
DAVID PERSECUTED BY SAUL. LOYALTY TO GOD.
David remained righteous and honest
before Yahweh's anointed one, even when he, his own king, wanted David dead. But
David was faithful until the day of his death. David had
already been anointed as king by Samuel the prophet, but he did not dishonour
king Saul. The blessing of the test was the kingdom itself, and not only Judah
but the whole of Israel. That was when Israel ruled over the
promised land and no nation could conquer Israel because its king, David, the
prophets and priests obeyed God. 1Samuel 26.
Jesus Christ Himself was persecuted by His own nation, by His own
people, by the priests, by all the establishment that
should have received Him because He is the true King of kings. However, He gave
us the best example of temperance, patience and strength in the midst of
the test of our faith when our beloved ones, our relatives and our brethren in
the faith become our enemies. This was announced by Jesus Christ, therefore if
you are suffering this, let it not surprise you because we are persecuted or
rejected because of the name of Jesus and because of His Word. Matthew 10:34.
If you have ever been persecuted by those whom you have honoured
and served, do not think it is your fault, rather think that the spiritual
battle is active against God's righteous children. If your
conscience is at ease before God but those who are above you in the spiritual,
professional and civil fields become your enemies, know that the Lord
is working for you and you will soon see God's hand in this test. Do not give up, continue to treat everybody like Jesus Christ taught us.
SUSTAINED BY A POOR WIDOW. ELIJAH. ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS. JOHN
THE BAPTIST. THEY OBEY GOD. THE HUMBLENESS OF THE GREAT PROPHETS.
When spiritual leaders who are set by God are sent to
depend on simple believers and without resources so that they do not forget
about God's people, the prophets, the elders of the Church, those who receive
revelations, God's visions to guide the Church, just as it happened in ancient
the prophets to God's people, they need to be tested in this to make them come
down from God's "cloud", a symbolic cloud, holy cloud of the presence of the
Lord, to serve few and humble ones, even if the one that has been sent has a high
spiritual level. Elijah, who was God's prophet, was sent to the king to announce the
three years of drought. God sends Elijah to the house of a poor widow. The test
would be a blessing for him and for her, in her faith. 1Kings 17:8.
There is a parallel line between Elijah and John the Baptist, who was also
sustained in humbleness, he used to eat locusts and wild honey in the
wilderness awaiting his ministry of announcing the coming of the
Messiah before him and the people. He was the spiritual revolutionary, the
radical preacher, the message that changed everything that had been
established so far due to the degeneration of man's tradition, always defiled
far away from God. His life was hard, alone, in the desert and his death was as martyr
for the Lord's glory.
JOB THE RIGHTEOUS. WE SHALL LOVE GOD IN ADVERSITY.
If we only love God when He blesses us, when everything is going
fine, our faith could be biased. The test for a heart that is used
to God's blessing for a long time is to lose everything. God knows whether
we are His or not and how far we can be tested at Satan's request within his
temporary domains when he asks to be allowed to tempt us and try to separate us from God.
What the Lord demands from us at such times is our radical and straight forward
On the other hand, when we believe that we are righteous - which we are, since
Christ's blood has been accepted by us to pay for our sin - but we grow in our own justice, thinking that through our merits, efforts or
holiness we walk in that holiness, in perfection, everything goes fine in life,
this is when the believer has lost the spiritual north, and his self, his ego,
has over-grown, and although he is righteous and holy, he has forgotten that
he fully depends on God, his dependence upon God, the need to be humble before Him and before the brethren,
that is when the Lord can only make all those Job-likes go through their test in
life, the full test. Everything lost but God. Once he recovers the
humbleness, blessings overflow. It is then, and only then, when the believer
can say the same as Job said: "I have heard of You by the hearing of
the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself..." Job
Jesus Christ said to Peter: ... Satan has asked for you,
that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should
not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren. Jesus does
not say that He has prayed that we are not sifted, but to be strengthened and
become stronger in the spirit, and more humble in our flesh and dependant on
JEREMIAH AND EZEKIEL. CALLED TO BE PROPHETS, NOT PRIESTS. THE
When we are sent by God to the mission that He tells us that it
is the one He had appointed us for before we were formed in the womb, the
one we are shocked by and we cannot believe it to be true, but God confirms it. Jeremiah was the
son of a priest, which meant he would inherit priesthood. However, God calls him
to be a prophet and to exhort Judah and Israel. His father
would be shocked to see that his son would not take over priesthood but instead he
would denounce the sin of kings, governors and of the people and also the
priests' excessive tolerance. Yahweh announces him that they would all come
against him but they would not succeed because God's hand would be with him. Jeremiah obeyed and he
gave up his life in order to live a life of hardship and loneliness,
announcing judgment and also to bless those that obeyed God. Jeremiah 1.
His key message about the test of man, Jeremiah 17:10 ...I, the Lord, search the
heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according
to the fruit of his doings.
Jonas was another man of God that was sent to prophesize but who
refuses to do so at the beginning, who lacks mercy for those who
repent. If we do not use pity and mercy, God will come after us until we do
His will, until He puts us in the belly of the giant fish and we do it feeling
joy when those to whom we take the message of God's judgment repent, like the Ninevites did, proclaiming fast and prayer in repentance, Jonas 3 and 4.
Ezekiel receives one of the most important spiritual visions "the
Glory of God", but he does not receive it in the temple, or in the Tabernacle or
in any special or holy place, but by the river, in captivity, in the midst of
the test, when God's people were taken to Babylon. In his life as a prophet, he
received great revelations and prophecies, in addition to the vision of God and
the future Temple, but it was a hard and difficult life. The Lord announced him
the death of his wife and asked him not to behave according to the tradition so
that the people would realize how God felt towards them. He also announced
blessings when the people repented, a symbol of the resurrection of the dead in
the coming of Christ, in the famous story of the Valley of Dry Bones. Ezekiel 1 and 37.
DANIEL'S FIERY FURNACE AND THE DEN OF LIONS. TRUSTING GOD.
When we are tested even though we are righteous. Men of God,
righteous and just before God are cast into the fiery furnace and also in the den of lions. Two very meaningful tests. The first one
changes us completely when we see that our enemies deliver us to punishment, and
then we see how God does a miracle in our lives. The second one is to test us
once we have seen that God is with us, that we do not lose faith in the midst of
adversity. But man's heart is so hard that even after having great experiences with God, of such magnitude, many still doubt, and they do so in small
things. We all go through times when our faith is weak, but we must look for
God's presence. If God places us in the furnace or the den, it will be for the
sake of victory in the Great Commission, serving in the Kingdom of God.
PREGNANT WITH THE MESSIAH AND NOT MARRIED, WHILE STILL A VIRGIN.
How could Mary feel at the possibility of being, not only rejected, but stoned? But she believed the angel of the Lord and was
greatly blessed amongst women. Matthew 1:18.
REPENT. PREACHING THE GOSPEL.
John the Baptist, ministry in the wilderness, a major ministry of
prophet amongst prophets, announcing the coming of the Lord. Baptism in water,
baptism in the Spirit. His test was to remain until he announced the
Messiah and soon after he was beheaded due to his prophecy.
Yahshua the Master and Yohanan the Baptist did not go together. Two parallel ministries with different disciples that finally
come together in one ... He must increase but I must decrease... John 3:30.
FIVE LOAVES AND TWO FISHES TO FEED THE MULTITUDE. VIRTUE.
When God demands a lot from us when we have little. The new believer that is afraid of preaching because he
does not have much knowledge of the Bible, he can count on his own testimony and
the Gospel, but he considers this is insufficient, he thinks that he needs to have
the whole Bible in his mind in order to preach, and have all the answers to
every question. God does not want us to depend on knowledge but to let us be
carried away by His Spirit with what we have, that we trust God. The miracle of
the loaves and the fish was real but its spiritual value is fundamental for us,
no doubt a major test for the disciples who added to their faith, virtue; they
made an effort to believe and they saw the miracle. The disciples were tested in
the faith having to feed the multitude of five thousand men plus their families
when Jesus asked them to do so with five loaves and two fish, which multiplied
endlessly when He looked up to heaven, blessed and brake them until they all ate
and were filled. Matthew 14:13
The manna in the wilderness, Exodus 16, was God's reply to our
lack of food, if He told to go through the wilderness, He would also
provide. This was a similar test to that of Christ's loaves and fish, for the
believer. When God is in charge, nothing is impossible.
ONE MUST BE BORN AGAIN, NICODEMUS. THE SPIRIT.
Leaving behind everything you are in religion and tradition in
order to see the Kingdom of God. Leaving the sense of belonging to the chosen people,
leaving the position as levy priests like
many prophets did, and finally leaving church denominations behind, because we
are not of Paul or of Apollos, but of Christ and He is the One that gives us the
Holy Spirit to know God personally, without Him we cannot know the Kingdom of
God. When we are born again from the Spirit we are a new creature, we have a new
part in our being that before used to be dead, asleep, unformed. God does this
miracle in every Christian who receives faith in the work of the Son of God.
Being a doctor of the law, member of the Sanhedrin, scholar of the literal
content of the Bible is not sufficient in order to know God. One must be born
again. This is the greatest test, but God's love makes it possible. John 3:3.
THE DOGS EAT OF THE CRUMBS WHICH FALL FROM THEIR MASTERS' TABLE.
THE CANAANITE WOMAN. THE DAUGHTER OF JAIRUS AND THE WOMAN THAT TOUCHED THE HEM
OF JESUS' ROBE. SPIRITUAL COMPREHENSION.
When God denies our blessing initially and
tests our faith, whether we will fight for it or just conform. Jacob fought with
the angel of the Lord until sunrise, until He blessed him; we must do the same.
The faith of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21, she did not give up when
Jesus said to her that first He had to complete the time of the Gospel to the
Jews. She demanded the crumbs from the Lord, that were enough for her to heal
her daughter possessed by a devil. The Lord granted her the miracle
and the blessing. She understood that God could not only be God of the Jews and
that He also had to be God of the Gentiles.
We find the other opposite story but with the same meaning when
the Lord is touched by the woman with the issue of blood, that was healed. This
happened when He was on His way to Jairus' house, a ruler of the Synagogue,
whose daughter was in agony. While Jesus Christ is taking care of the woman with
the issue of blood, who was considered unclean, that had touched the hem of His
robe in the midst of the crowd because she was convinced that by doing so she
would be healed, He was comforting and blessing her for her faith, the
daughter of Jairus dies. The great test: letting the daughter of a servant of
God die in order to attend an unclean woman. When some people came from Jairus'
house to inform him about her death, Jesus says to him: Be not afraid, only
believe. When they went to the house, where they were al crying, He said: Why
make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” And they
ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the
mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child
was lying. Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the
girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome
with great amazement. Mark 5:21.
PENTECOST. LIVING SPIRITUALLY.
The new life with the Holy Spirit. The manifestation of tongues
and gifts, a new test of faith for the Church. Today, many do not believe in
gifts. A great test to tell the difference between those who remain in tradition or
those that acknowledge God's signs and they advance in His spiritual project.
Acts 2. Of course we must test the spirits, to know whether they are of God, as
the Bible tells us, but God is the same One, He does not change, and although we
do not see gifts that were given to certain disciples as in the times of Jesus
or the apostles, the gifts are with the Holy Spirit, who rules the Church of
Jesus Christ. See the gifts in 1Corinthians 12.
PETER AND THE SHEET. TREATING OUR NEIGHBOUR.
Gentiles are saved and receive the Holy Spirit like the Jews,
through faith in Christ, not through descendants or religion. A great lesson
for Peter and for all. Today Messianic Jews in the end times for Israel, who
have a nation again after almost two thousand years, are divided between those
who believe in the leading role of the Jewish nation when the Messiah returns and
those who do not. Between those who believe that every Jewish tradition and law
must be observed even if they are Christians and those who do not. Likewise we
find the contradiction of a part of Christianity that rejects that Israel is
part of God's plan, showing their religious antisemitism and teaming up with non-believers in this respect.
Jesus had already taught us the right behaviour showing no partiality when He spoke with the Samaritan woman.
A divorced woman, who was on her own when she was speaking to the Master,
Samaritan, with different traditions, whom Jesus touches in such a way that her
experience converts not just her family but the whole of Samaria, something that
traditional religion was not able to do, only the Son of God personally. Jesus
also uses the famous example of the good Samaritan in order to make us
understand who our neighbour is. John 4 and Luke 10:33.
PETER AND PAUL IN THEIR
DISAGREEMENT AND RECONCILIATION. BROTHERHOOD AND GOD'S MISSION.
When God tests the elder who has already earned
recognition by confronting him with the new convert from unknown background but
who is chosen by God as
special tool of great fruit. Many pastors, elders, ministry leaders, not just
now but throughout history, have great difficulty in acknowledging great
servants of God because they come from nowhere, or they have bad reputation due
to their past before they converted, or they are unknown, or do not have human
credentials, man's acknowledgement, and therefore they do not receive them. They
are missing out in the blessing. After the years, the test will make then
realize that precisely what that unknown servant of God was bringing as a
revelation is what God is doing and they have missed out on in and they have
opposed God for some time. This is the test of the ministry, to remind us that
God is who chooses and that we must be vigilant to recognize and tell apart
those who are really God-sent people to us, whether they belong to
our fellowship group or not.
This is a great lesson,
and a hard one to learn, a great test for the elders of the Church. But this is not
just a great lesson for those who are already acknowledged and recognized, the "Peters",
it is also for the "Pauls", those who are not acknowledged or
have no recognition,
those who receive a mission from God and will be tested by the refusal
of those who have recognition, they will be rejected by them, despised and
excluded from of
every ministry because they will have to obey God, not men, and fulfill their
part in the Great Commission. If Paul had not followed his call and instead he had
given in to hierarchy, his work spreading the Gospel across the world would
have had to be done by someone else. But he was faithful and fulfilled his
ministry. Later on he would be acknowledged by the council and by all the elders.
He was not looking for acknowledgement, he was spiritually grown-up, he knew
that the Lord, the Master, had instructed him to do the work and he fulfilled it
without doubt. Let us learn from Paul and fulfill all those ministries that God
gives us even if the rest of the brethren do not receive us; we are accountable to God.
Peter was a disciple
chosen by the Lord, loved by the Lord and part of the three chosen ones to share
His privacy, pillar of the Church, elder amongst the
elders, but in spite of this he had to be rebuked by Paul, a Pharisee, rebuking the fisherman that had shared life with the Master and now he had
to stand being rebuked by an arrogant doctor of the law who had
persecuted Christians and that had received a vision. Yes, Peter was greatly
blessed by Paul and vice versa. Peter acknowledged beloved Paul in his letters and
was helped to receive the Gentiles through Paul's ministry who helped him to
open the eyes of his spirit.
JESUS CHRIST: HIS TESTS
THE DEVIL'S TEMPTATION TO
JESUS CHRIST. THE TEST OF 40 DAYS AND 40
NIGHTS IN THE WILDERNESS.
The test of being able to
choose between all the kingdoms of this world and the Cross. Jesus Christ
replied to all the tests with the Word of God and against all temptations. He
had His mission clear and His heart was for us and for the Father, who had sent
Him. His mission was determined, even though He could have had everything then,
He did not give in and He chose the Cross, being a man, giving up the
kingdoms, having a family, to all the blessings of a life on earth. Blessed be
our Lord whom we await in His eternal Kingdom. Matthew 4.
THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY IN
JERUSALEM AND BEING REJECTED BY THE JEWS.
... My Kingdom is not of this world ...
Jesus gives up a life of blessings on earth, to a wife, children, kingdom,
mother, brothers, everything, because of us. There is no greater test of love
than Christ's life, there is no religion that provides this form of salvation
without our merits, but through those of God made man. His
family did not believe in Him, His nation, His tribe, His religion, everything
that was established rejected Him. What a painful test for the Son of
God, coming to His people and being rejected. But he continued to be faithful
in His inner spiritual battle until the Cross.
If we think about it in depth, it is a
very hard test for the true Messiah of Israel and of the world to be rejected
by everybody that should have received Him and crowned Him. His spiritual life
could not be further from the established religion and which, initially, would be
the one He should confirm, but this religion had turned away from the heart of God.
He was baptized in a river by an unorthodox prophet, his cousin John. His
seminar, His confirmation and training were done in the
wilderness. He lived in Samaria and Galilee of the Gentiles. His disciples were
fishermen and tax collectors, not religious people or priests. He made miracles
for people from all walks of life. He was rejected in synagogues, but there were
crowds following Him. He preached in the open fields. He prayed in an
orchard. His teachings were those of Heaven, spiritually incomparable. He cleans
out the temple and rebukes scribes and pharisees.
Judged by the Romans at the request of the Jews to die because of all, Jews and
Gentiles, we are all guilty of His death by our sin; without it He would have
not died on the Cross. Buried in a sepulchre by wealthy converted Pharisees.
Resurrected in the tomb and ascended outside religion, like
all of His ministry, to be the beginning of the new spiritual life, so
that we love one another like He loved us and everybody sees that we are His
disciples, until His coming in the clouds to establish His
eternal Kingdom. Revelation 1:7.
CLEANING THE TEMPLE AND THE
PROPHECY ABOUT ITS DESTRUCTION.
Jesus also had to go through the test of
rejecting the Royal priesthood that He was entitled to before a magnificent
temple built for Him to walk on, and it was not only what the temple represented
but all that it entitled, the religion established again according to the former
model in the Levitic law. All this had to be
discarded and replaced by the temple of the soul which, even if it was destroyed, He would
raise it up in three days, which He did, he was referring to His body. But this
would not be a pleasant experience for the Lord to tell them that they had turned
His Father's house in den of thieves. The temple would be destroyed, He
prophesized it Himself, Matthew 24. This would be fulfilled in the year 70 a.C.
Since then, neither the temple nor Jerusalem would be the centre of Christianity
any longer, but the soul of the believer, the unity of the disciples wherever
they may be, the Church, until He will establish the New Jerusalem that will come
down from heaven.
For us it is a moment of joy, but let us
imagine the self-denial and temperance that Jesus had at the time when He
knew that He would be arrested immediately after to be condemned and crucified
and in spite of that He shared Passover with His disciples and explain the meaning to them,
even though they would not understand it yet, but they would later on, Matthew
26:17. The great test of bearing the feeling inside and
eat with the beloved disciples.
PRAYER AND ACCEPTANCE IN THE MOUNT OF OLIVES. GETHSEMANE.
This orchard is where Jesus Christ used to
go to pray, where He used to meet with His disciples and where He would finally
be confronted with the last possibility of going through the test of the Cross. When He
accepted to drink the cup of the world's sin, our Lord prayed: ...“Father, if it
is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours,
be done.” At this moment in time, the Lord is inside a man's body, which He had
subjected Himself to while he was on earth in order to accomplish His passion
for us ... Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the
ground ... Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him ... Luke 22:39-46.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST.
There is no bigger test than this one. To
come down from the throne of glory to go to the Cross to die for the
sins of the world. His resurrection and ours and the return to the Kingdom of
God, and not only His but ours in His coming are a great source of strength,
courage, purpose, obedience to the Father and love of God. Our faith and hope
start on the Cross of Christ. Matthew 27:32.
ASCENSION AFTER RESURRECTION.
SEPARATION FROM HIS BELOVED ONES.
The Lord was returning to the Father but
He was leaving His disciples and converted relatives and had to leave. The Lord
also suffered that separation... Luke 22
PAUL SENT TO THE GENTILES, NOT THE JEWS.
The doctor of the Law, Gamaliel's
disciple, the man better trained in doctrine and most zealous of Israel's
traditions is sent to the gentile nations. He would open the way to
the evangelization of the world, laying out the highways of the Great
Commission. Pauls' letters in the Bible.
God is who sends us out in His
project, we are not the ones that choose. How many times have we wanted to do
projects for the spiritual ministry but they cannot be accomplished, and how
many times have we understood that those which we have succeeded in we don't
really know how they have really happened and we understand
that it is God's hand. This is how it is in spiritual life. God sends us to do
what He knows better than we do that it is something we can be successful in.
Our worldly life also has to come from God and we must ask Him, ask for His
advice, look for His blessing and wait on Him.
THE GREAT COMMISSION. THE CHRISTIAN'S
The work of Christianity from Christ until
Christ. Two thousand years of spiritual work to take
the Gospel throughout the world non-stop until the end of times. Augustine of Hippo could be, after the apostles and the
early Christians, the first relevant character, who would fight a test of faith
until his conversion, which he described in his "Confessions", later on in his
"Retractions" until he converted and studied in a monastery. His inner
battle in search for the meaning of life made him become a dedicated philosophy
student until his call. He lived in a bitter inner battle until he came to know
God, the test of the furnace that God had prepared for him, a spiritual
wilderness which finally gave fruit: "Of the city of God", an essential work
where he identifies it with the soul. His doctrine is still a reference in
today's Christianity and is taught in every evangelical seminar.
Luther (1483 - 1546) went through a great test,
a tremendous fight when he realized that he could not feel holy by religious
practice, until in translating the Bible he found the verse that would change
everything: ... the just shall live by his faith ... Habakkuk 2:4 and Galatians
3:11. He had to leave the catholic church because they did not want to return to
the Word of God, and he started the reform suffering all sorts of persecutions
from Rome, but God's hand was with him until he succeeded; the Bible would be
know to everyone that was looking for God's truth. He translated the Bible into
German and was printed using the newly invented Gutenberg printer, which was no
doubt part of God's plan, there is no coincidence. Calvin (1509 - 1564),
Luther's contemporary, also had to leave the catholic church and go to
Switzerland, persecuted by the Inquisition. He wrote "Institutes of the
Christian Religion", a master work of Christian doctrine up to present days and
the work that would set out in an organized way the doctrine of the protestant reform started by
Luther and which is also part of every seminar.
John Wesley (1703 - 1791) followed the
example of Jesus and he started preaching out in the open air in a time where
preaching was only done in churches. He took the Gospel to industrial areas and
the Lord raised a great spiritual awakening. He founded the Methodist church
together with his brother Charles, who was in charge of the worship. John
could have died in a fire in his school when he was six, but he was rescued and
he referred to this as a brand plucked from God's fire. Tested by God on seeing
that what was not the orthodox method - preaching out in the open air - was what
worked best, when at the beginning he though this was not approved by God,
encouraged by Whitefield who had just returned from America. Both of them
suffered the rejection from all churches, that would close their doors and not
allow them to preach. The Church of England persecuted him and considered him
heresy. His work and example are alive today.
Let us not forget the difficulty that
Billy Graham had to struggle with to preach when he was young, but he heard
God's call and he fought, prayed and trained for years in seminars until
he became the great evangelist of the 20th century. His Christian organization
is directed today by his son Franklin Graham and the "Decision" project is still
working looking for non-believers to receive the Gospel and make a decision to
follow God giving their heart to Christ in evangelistic crusades. This year, at
92 years old, he visited the headquarters to share the Christmas message.
In our times, the history of Rick
Warren, well known pastor in California, tells in his book "Purpose Driven
Church" how his ministry started the day he arrived at Saddleback valley with
his wife and his four-month baby, without money, without a house and without
knowing anybody in the area, but guided by God. On arrival, he went to the first
real estate agent he found and sat down with the agent, who happened to be the
owner, told him he was there to start a church and had no money, and asked
whether he could help him. The two of them laughed at the situation but the
agent made some calls and got him a house with a free one month rent. Today the
ministry has over twenty thousand members. His test was not having anything to
start with; the reward for following his call is his ministry today.
We will find a difficult test now in the
end times, I refer to the one prophesized in the Bible, the apostasy of the
final times and in the midst of this the Lord reminds us: ... feed he flock of
God which is among you ... 1Peter 5. When they oppose the Gospel, others turn
away, others live against Christian morals, let us not be surprised, this test
is for the end times, but there are also multitudes accepting Christ throughout
THE GOOD WORKS. CHRISTIAN LIFE.
This is a real test of what a
Christian must show in his life, his service in charity to his neighbour. ...
faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead ... James 2:14-26. Therefore
let us test ourselves in our fruits and works. Many times the Lord will lead us
to serve Him in ways that we think will not bear much fruit, that we will find
hard to accomplish, with people we find hard to deal with, with adverse
circumstances or without resources. However, when we see the need and the
possibility to do good, let's do it because it it is in our hands, if God
gives us the chance of helping and we don't do it - unless we clearly see it
will have negative consequences or God speaks to us specifically - we must do it, otherwise we
are sinning. There are examples of situations where providing help is not
convenient, like giving money to a drug addict or an alcoholic, in these cases
helping them means trying to take them to Christian rehabilitation centres. In
other cases, such as financial help for someone that needs food, medicines, pay
an electricity bill, etc, will be well done.
JOHN WRITES REVELATION!. THE HOPE.
Obeying God in old age, in prison,
forsaken, hopeless. But the Lord holds great things for our life. For John,
it was a greatest revelation ever received by a disciple about prophecy. We
should never think that God has forsaken us, because He will always have a new
task for us, even in the last days of our life.
RELEVANT BIBLE TEXTS
ABOUT TESTS OF FAITH.
... Now it came to pass after these things that
God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.” 2 Then He
said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you
love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering
on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”3
So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his
young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt
offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
4 Then on the third day Abraham
lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.
... “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of
dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,
2 and the sign or the wonder comes
to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which
you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’
3 you shall not listen to the
words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for
the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
... “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My
Companion,” says the Lord of hosts. “ Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be
scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
8 And it shall come to pass in
all the land,” says the Lord, “ That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
but one-third shall be left in it: 9
I will bring the one-third through the fire,
will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as
gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I
will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
... “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the wayside are the
ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts,
lest they should believe and be saved.
13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when
they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a
while and in time of temptation fall away.
14 Now the ones that fell among
thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares,
riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
15 But the ones that fell on the
good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart,
keep it and bear fruit with patience.
... Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much
wine, not greedy for money, 9
holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found
... In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be,
you have been grieved by various trials,
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, 8
whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you
rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 receiving the end of your
faith—the salvation of your souls. ...
18 knowing that
you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like
silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your
but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb
without blemish and without spot.
20 He indeed was foreordained
before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for
... Because you have kept My command to persevere, I
also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world,
to test those who dwell on the earth.
11 Behold, I am coming quickly!
Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
12 He who overcomes, I will make
him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write
on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem,
which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
Do you think that God has forgotten about you? That is not possible, because He
is Omnipresent and He has given His Son for you. Do you think that you will not
be able to make it to the end of this stage in your life, whichever it may be
that you are going through? Think about it again, because you may be just one
single step away from the end, from the blessing, from the end of the tunnel,
the end of illness, or a sentimental, financial or spiritual issue. The Lord
never forsakes us. Remember Job.
Faith can be tested by means of a strange strategy plan, like the one in Joshua
6:3 to conquer Jericho. By demanding what seemed to be a useless task:
2Kings 3:16. By demanding extensive preparation without blessings at
sight, 2Kings 4:3. When Jesus asks two blind men whether they
believed He could heal them, Matthew 9:28. Hebrews 11:36 reminds us that many of
our brethren have suffered and many are suffering today in
prison. 1Peter 1:7 is the most specific Text of the purpose of this fights and
test for the people of the Lord: ... 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, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ
We must be able to tell the difference between test and discipline.
The only way to know whether we should continue to fight until we reach our
target, that is of God and not our own or whether we need to
stop immediately, meditate, pray, wait, fast, until the Lord confirms it to us.
Once we have it clear, we have two alternatives. If we have sinned, we must
repent, act in a different way, change and do it for good, asking God to help
us. If we have not sinned and we have been put to the test or to be shaken,
we have the confidence that God is with us, that Jesus is next to us in the
yoke, that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us continuously.
Therefore, my dear friend, if God confirms with individual answers that
requests you made Him, you cannot stop, but you will have to fight against
obstacles, hindrances, powers and principalities,
putting on God's armour, Ephesians 6:10, and the Lord will go with you and you
will succeed, like Jehoshaphat when he went out with his army to the victory the Lord
gave him, saying: ... Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe
in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and
you shall prosper ... 2Chronicles 20:20.
In the second part, we will see the purpose that God has when he tests our faith,
in the sections: The purpose of the test. The test of life itself. The final
test, death. The greatest test of all: love, God's love.
Final words are from Revelation 3: ... Because you have kept My command to persevere,
I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole
world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
11Behold, I am coming quickly!
Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. ...
13 “He who has an ear, let him
hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Amen.