Friday, Jan. 13
“My tests become my testimonies.”—T. D. Jakes, in Guideposts, Dec. 2016. Some people equate tests with trials and tribulations. All three of those words are basically synonymous,with variable nuances. A test is designed to evaluate something with the goal of improving or changing it. A trial can have the same meaning, but it’s often thought of as a tribulation, which we would just as soon avoid. But tribulations are also beneficial. Scripture teaches us that they are meant to purify us, and are designed by God and under His sovereign control. Of all these words, I like the word “test” the most. But no matter which word you use, it raises questions. Who is doing the testing? And with what purpose? There are two options— Satan or God. Actually, there is no option. God is supreme and in total control. If Satan in involved, it is only under God’s permissive will. Evaluating the test is the real issue. Satan will inevitably render a guilty verdict. God’s evaluation will be accurate and with the goal of helping us mature. He is on our side. People can evaluate us, too, but it may be skewed. Tests, trials, and tribulations should all be welcomed. They tell us what we’re doing right and what needs to be changed. A second question: How do we get the test results? The results of a school test is a letter grade or a percent or percentile grade. When we go through some “life” test, our reactions to the test will make it fairly clear whether or not we are doing well as God’s agents in this world. If we are honest with ourselves we know where changes need to me made. All this has to do with the word “testimonies” in the above quotation. If we pass the test, we are approved as to our witness for Christ. And, by the way, the test will reveal to others what needs to be changed. How we respond to a trial will be evident to all. This is where testimony comes in. We can have a bad testimony as well as a good testimony. One last thought: Just as we are helpless in coming to salvation, so do we need divine help in order to change. We have to want to change, but we will never do it on our own.