3 reasons God tests us

I did this to test Israel – to see whether or not they would follow the ways of the Lord as their ancestors did.  Judges 2:22

What do Abraham, Israel, Philip and the disciples all have in common?  They all were tested by God.  But why? 

Don’t you wish that when God sends a test your way that there would be some kind of warning like one of those loud pulsating alarms or a flashing light that says “This is a Test!”  Knowing that would bring a heightened awareness to focus on God and respond in a way that pleasing to Him.

Why does God test us anyway?  There are three basic reasons. 

1. He tests us to build our faith.  (Psalm 26:2) He does this by creating circumstances that require our greater dependency on Him. (1 Peter 1:7) When 5000 people were gathered at the Galilee golden arches and Jesus asked Philip to give all of them free happy meals, he and the other disciples were overwhelmed. 

The Bible tells us Jesus did this to test him because He already had a plan.  When all they could come up with was five orders of fries and two filet-o-fish they realized how desperately their faith needed stretching.  But through this God did a mighty miracle. (John 6:5-6)

2. He tests us to reveal our hearts.  After Joshua’s death God purposely left unconquered enemies in the land.  He did this to test their obedience in continuing to follow Him.  (Judges 2:22 & 3:4) 

All of us are like tubes of toothpaste.  When we get rolled, pinched or squashed, what’s in us comes out.  We may be thinking we are doing great until someone or something comes along and squeezes us the wrong way.  Then seemingly out of nowhere comes “oops” language, complaints, excuses, retaliation, bitterness, anger, etc.  “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)  This can be humbling, but it is meant to lead us to repentance and change, that in turn will result in even greater levels of obedience. 

Abraham passed his test with flying colors when he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac.  In the end the Angel of the Lord said an amazing thing about his heart.  “Now I know that you fear God.”  (Genesis 22:1, 12)

3. He tests us to build spiritual muscle.  Some testing is meant solely as resistance in order to build spiritual muscle and a fighting spirit.  As everyone who works out knows, the only way to build strength and endurance in our body is through resistance exercise.  That is exactly what God did with the Israelites after Joshua’s death.  He left enemies in the land to “teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.” (Judges 3:1) 

Opposition and trials challenge us to become spiritually battle hardened, to give us a will to win.  No room for wimps in the Kingdom of God.  God calls us to be strong and courageous. (Joshua 1:6) The only way to become strong and courageous is by facing things that require strength and courage.  Thus trials and temptation are by nature redemptive in that they build God’s strength and character into the very fiber of our being as we battle through the test.

So in summary, it is important to 1) be sensitive to and recognize the tests God sends our way and 2) embrace the test, allowing our faith, our obedience and our spiritual muscle to grow.

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