Have you taken any tests lately? No, not the kind you take in school. I'm talking about the tests of life! We all face them. It's just part of being a Christian in a fallen world. There are many kinds of tests. Here are just a few:
• Forgiveness Test
• Rejection Test
• Not Complaining Test
• Being Joyful in Trials Test
• Humility Test
The list could go on and on. I've learned that tests come frequently in life. And passing them is the pathway to promotion and progress. There's no way around it!
According to 1 Peter 4:12, when we go through hard times, our quality is tested: Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you (The Amplified Bible).
When our quality is tested, we learn things about ourselves. The truth is, we don't really know what we believe until we're tested in it. It's easy to judge others who are going through hard times and say, "I can't believe they're doing that! I would never do that."
It's also foolish.
You really don't know what you would do until you're in that same situation. And God allows us to go through difficult situations to reveal what's in us. James 1:3 says that trials bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience (The Amplified Bible).
Tests and trials can actually be good for us!
But we have to know how to pass the tests for them to be beneficial. The key to this is measuring our life against the right standard. God's standard is His Word. And the Word is our spiritual mirror.
For example, Jesus tells us to forgive those who hurt us. If I don't forgive, there's a blemish on me, which I can see by looking at the Bible.
God's Word is full of wisdom and instruction about how we're supposed to live. But it won't help us if we don't do what it says. We need to stop just glancing at the Word and start really applying it to our lives. James 1:22 tells us to be doers of the Word and not just hearers.
It's important to take the time to examine yourself and compare it to what the Bible says about how we're to live. A lot of the time it seems people are in too much of a hurry, not paying attention to how they treat people. Many people have become rude, selfish and self-centered as they rush through the day, trying to get everything done that they need to do.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I showing the fruit of the Christian life day to day? Is it clear to people around me that I'm a Christian? You'll find the answer when you examine your life in the light of the Word.
So what are you measuring yourself by – other people or God's Word?
This is an important question because comparing yourself to others is dangerous. And it's so easy to do. But if I judge whether I'm right or wrong based on what someone else is doing, I can compromise in what God is leading me to do. For example, God may put a conviction in my heart not to go to a certain movie, but someone else I respect as a believer may not have that conviction. If I then decide it's ok to go because they did, I'm following that person and not God.
Jesus is to be our standard. Wherever I am in my life and whatever I'm facing, my goal should be to do what He would do. Following Him will continually cause my faith to grow and improve my quality of life. Make it your goal, too. There's no higher standard of living!