But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the glad tidings (the Gospel), so we speak not to please men but to please God, Who tests our hearts [expecting them to be approved]. (1 Thes 2:4) AMP
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep. “This is a test. For the next sixty seconds this station will conduct a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test.”
Have you ever had your favorite radio or television program interrupted in this way? It can be somewhat annoying at the time, especially for those of us who are still working on that fruit of the Spirit called patience, however, in the case of a National Emergency; this system would be vital and important to our well being. We would then be thankful for the tests that had taken place to ensure that everything operated as it should in that time when it is most vital.
In general tests are not at the top of my “favorites” list. Even if I have studied my hardest I seem to experience a certain level of test anxiety which always causes my palms to sweat, my heart to palpitate and my stomach to twist in knots because I fear failure. In the course of life however I have an ever ready sharpened #2 pencil and a scan tron with my name already bubbled in. As a Child God we have a plethora of opportunities to be tested. A tangible proving of our hearts regarding what really lies within.
Wouldn’t it be nice if each time our hearts were tested there was a heavenly alarm that went off letting us know that we were right in the middle of a test from the Lord? Beeeeeeeeep, you are now being tested on what I have been teaching you for the last six months….choose rightly so you don’t have to take this test again….
Recently, my sweet Aunt Beth reminded me “It is after the test that we find out what we have learned.”
Too many times it isn’t until after I have already made my choices-
A) walk after the spirit
B) walk after the flesh
that I realize that I have just been the participant in a pop quiz given by my Master, my Teacher, my Lord; the subject matter seems to repeat itself over and over again. Trusting Him, Believing His Word, loving others well, not striving…. and the list goes on.
Very rarely I have the discernment to ascertain that indeed I am smack dab in the middle of a pop quiz of the heart. Usually my clue is that the heart matter is very familiar because I have taken the test many times before and failed. About the fifth time around the same mountain you tend to begin to recognize the scenery.
In these fortunate times I am able to step back, take a deep breath, and draw from within the lessons that the Teacher has deposited into my heart. In those places where I have needed extra, and gone to him for the help that I need, He has been so faithful walking me through step by step as long as it takes because He really wants me to get it.
More often however it is not until after I have not chosen rightly that it clicks that that which is within my heart has once again been proved. It usually comes in the form of an ah-ha moment that looks like something like this…”Oh my….I can’t believe I reacted that way again…I can’t believe I acted that way again…I can’t believe I am still struggling with this same thing!”
In these times I take myself back before the Lord for the tutoring that I so desperately need, to be re-minded, to be re-taught, to re-view. He then prepares my heart for the next time that it will have the opportunity to be proved. He is always kind and gracious to reassure me that I can take as many make up exams as it takes for me to get it right.
The Lord already knows the choices that we will make on every examination of the heart. He lovingly provides these opportunities of proving for us so that we can see the evidence of that which really lies within and continue to study accordingly.
Father, you are the most gracious teacher I have ever known. I am amazed by your patience with me even when I “miss” the same things over and over again. Thank you for never giving up on me and being willing to review and re teach things as many times as I need you to. I am so thankful that you are faithful to continue this good work that you have begun within me until the day of completion.