God Working in Our Lives
We live in a “test conscious” world. High School seniors take college entrance tests. Prospective accountants take a CPA test. Realtors must take a real estate test. Aren’t you glad that, to drive a car, everyone must take a driving test! Houses can be given a radon or aluminum test. Women can now take a “home pregnancy” test. Did you know that Paul urged us to “examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith”—this is an open-book test! A take-home test. “Examine” is a metallurgical term where a metal or stone was examined as to being genuine. Is your faith genuine? Take this test:
Conversion Test. For us to be saved, to enter Heaven, we must be converted or born-again. This means a crisis of belief! Have you ever had a spiritual crisis where you were convicted about your sins and need for God? This should lead to repentance where you admit your need, feel sorry about your sins, and desire to change. God gives us the ability to believe in Jesus and receive Him as Savior and Lord (Jn.1:12). Have you been converted? Unless we repent, we will perish (Lk. 13:3).
Character Test. A child will resemble his father. Belief determines behavior—do you resemble your Heavenly Father? As a result of a genuine conversion, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. The Holy Spirit keeps on saving us (sanctifying us) and reproducing Jesus in us through the Fruit of the Spirit. Instead of the works of the flesh, our saved lives now produce love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If a person is saved, he should act like Jesus!
Continuation Test. Surveys indicate that seldom is there present 50 percent of a church’s members on Sunday! Could you, as a parent, abide the fact that ½ of your family regularly showed up for meals and get-togethers? In the week to week life of the church, we have drop-outs, chronic absentees, and A.W.O.L.’s. Jesus talked about professors who endured only for a while but stumble when tribulation and persecution arise. Jesus talked about professors who became unfruitful because of the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. The genuine child of God has no desire to drop out, be a hermit or a recluse—“continue in the things you have learned” (2 Tim. 3:14). If you fizzle before the finish, there was a flaw at the first. The “continuation test” proves the lack of reality among many professors.
Companion Test. In the nature of the Christian is the sense of family. “We know we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren (1 John 3:14). The true Christian wants to fellowship with believers not unbelievers. Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of God is My brother, sister, and mother” (Mk. 3:35). We can be interested in the lost, but not have intimacy with them. We can make contact with the unsaved, but not have communion with them. We can be friends with the lost but cannot have fellowship with them. Who are your companions? Do you gravitate toward God’s people as your companions? Do you have a desire to be with God’s people on God’s Day?
Currency Test. The true believer has a desire to honor God with all he is and has. Did you know that Jesus talked more about stewardship than any other subject? He told us to “lay up treasure in heaven.” He told us that “where our treasure is, there will be our heart.” There are two books that reveal your priorities in life: (1) The Bible—is your Bible worn and used—that will tell if you are close to the Lord; (2) Your Checkbook—how you spend your money determines your priorities in life. “Honor the Lord with your possessions, with the first-fruits of your increase” (Prov. 3:9). “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse” (Mal.3:10). The true believer will honor God with his currency.
Crisis Test. Because we are human and because we live in a fallen world, we are going to have crises! Sometimes the roof caves in. Back in the 1930’s, when the Stockmarket crashed, men committed suicide by shooting themselves and jumping out of buildings—they had built their lives around material things. It is very revealing how a person faces a crisis—does he turn to alcohol? Drugs? Hasty alliances? Suicide? The child of God should automatically cry, “Abba, Father.” We turn to God. He is our source of strength and comfort. How do you face a crisis?
Concern Test. When a person is genuinely converted, the focus is taken off self. God implants a concern for others. We are our brother’s keeper. “We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). Jesus was concerned about the woman at the well. Jesus was concerned about the up-and-out like Nicodemus who came to Him by night. Jesus was concerned for the untouchables, like the lepers, and even laid hands on them. When the early disciples were arrested for preaching, they said, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Jeremiah tried to be silent but he said God’s Word was like a burning fire shut up in his bones and he could not stay (20:9). Do you have a concern for the lost—this is a good indicator that Jesus (who came to seek and save the lost) lives in you.
How do you rank with the test of conversion, character, continuation, companions, currency, crisis, and concern. Examine yourselves and see if you are in the faith.