I was so angry I wanted to scream...loudly! Then, suddenly I felt exposed....everyone around witnessed me in a very vulnerable moment. Yep, I was red-faced and I do believe my hair stood on end. There was no hiding it anymore. I was irritated...off the chart irritated... with one of God's children! I had tried to love her, but now it seemed as if she was desiring a competitive cat-fight ! I think my fingernails were forming into claws by the seconds. But God used this encounter (another test, actually) to alert me to see that my patience and love tank registered close to empty... thankfully I embraced His grace to take a deep breath and walk in love again. Loving one another is a big deal to God, and I needed my heart to align with His...especially on this particular matter.
What you just read was another test specifically designed by heaven for me. I could no longer preach,write or teach about God's love...I had to walk it out myself and pass the test of unconditional love. It is probably obvious to many of us- women sometimes have problems with other women. It doesn't have to be that way, but by nature women are competitive with other women in many areas. Just to mention a few tests to pass as a woman: gossip, jealousy, strife, competition, envy...and more! The enemy strategies often to bring strife among women...I'm certain of it! But there is no gender involved whenever it comes to ways the enemy seduces God's children to have issues with each other. Unity is important to God- is it any wonder why the devil seeks to promote disunity and strife? (Take a quick look at Ps 133 for a great study on unity!)
As a pastor of a local church and also as an author and traveling minister, I have encountered many different confrontations from evil spirits that are active in people. In the testimony above, a certain woman kept deliberately annoying me and distracted me during my teaching concerning God's grace. The entire encounter reminds me of when Apostle Paul encountered a spirit of divination (see Acts 16:16). At the end of my teaching she would then approach me and attempt to entangle me in a heated debate. It was obvious to me that she was extremely performance driven, and I had been teaching on grace for quite a while. It's true the devil doesn't like the message of grace. And he will use whoever he can to use to falsely accuse godly leaders who are passionately pursuing truth. For me that day, it was a test. Could I walk in love...no matter what?
Again, this was another test for me. I don't like tests. In school I had to study diligently to do well...but God sees tests differently. I'll just remain honest... I have had to stop and ask myself these questions several times: Why does God test us? And what is the purpose of it?
The Definition of a Test
The dictionary gives us an interesting definition of tests. For humans in particular it applies to us in verb form meaning that : a test is a form of ascertaining the worth of a person..... subject to certain examinations. (See Collins English Dictionary). We do not endure testing because God is upset with us- no way! However, it is a mark of God's favor because it is His desire to establish our value!
Wow! How awesome is that! let me explain a little more. Reader, you're going to love this blog!
Think for a moment about a jeweler and how he/she subjects silver or gold to a test. The test is done because there is value. The tests determines just how much value is to be proven. Wow!
This puts a whole new slant on a test. It's not that we are less valuable in the end...it's the thought of how God desires to prove to us and others our value.
God Wants to Prove Your Value!
Dear one, He believes in you! He wants to prove to you and others just how valuable you are. Therefore, embrace your tests and respond with joy! James 1:2-4 says " My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
Did you notice that whenever we are in a trial our faith is tested? Yes, our belief systems become challenged whenever we go through a test. In a trial, the Accuser of the Brethren falsely accuses us. The enemy lies about us concerning our identity in God and he lies concerning God's faithfulness and His desire to bless us. I don't know about you, but when I'm in a test. or experiencing a trial, doubt arises. I am tempted during hard times to doubt God's promises...and doubt my own value. It is in a test that we must remind ourselves of who we are in God. During tests our confessions should be "I am a child of the King," "I am valuable," " I am blessed," "I am royalty." (etc). Whenever we do this God is proving to us our value again...and He is proving it also to the devil!
I don't want to experience any more lack....do you? James 1:2-4 says that we count it joy whenever we go through a trial so that patience is developed and we are perfected and completed... lacking nothing! Believer, this means that God has prepared a test to prepare us for greatness...lacking nothing! A test is an introductory paragraph to a great testimony!!!
Yes, God desires that we cycle out of lack, therefore, a test might be required so that we come out of our past lack! Embrace each test...it's all meant to prove our value and empower us for increase! We are in a season of increase. At the beginning of this year I saw a very large river. I asked the Lord what the river was and He said it was "The River of Increase." Dear one, jump in the river today! Embrace increase...no matter what the test is....remember it is necessary to prepare you for increase.