Just like students are tested at the end of each grade. Jesus is testing believers at the end of the age. We can pass our tests now…or later. The reward is exemption from the Great Final Exam—-the seven-year tribulation period that is about to come upon the whole earth. Discover four tests every believer faces in life. The good news is… we can pass with the help of the Holy Spirit.
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 6:23)
How true. But, does God want to leave us far short of His glory? No. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:12). God promises to take us from glory to glory—not from failure to dismal failure. This means we should not be content to remain in sin as Christians.
The Holy Spirit of Christ who dwells inside us hates sin. His role is to purge sin from the lives of believers in Christ. When we receive Christ by faith we are forgiven of our sins and the Holy Spirit is sent to deliver us from future sinning. This is a process called sanctification. Watch the video presentation to learn more or continue reading the video notes below.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18, New King James Version – 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Sanctification is the Lord’s process of transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ. That means we will be acting and thinking more and more like Jesus, and less and less of our old sinful, selfish self. In other words, the Holy Spirit is going to help every believer become absolutely stunning–if you want Him to). The Holy Spirit will never force us to do anything.
Do you want to be beautiful? Then step in front of the mirror and let the Holy Spirit begin the makeover.
The standard of beauty is the character of Jesus Christ. Jesus is not interested in our flesh. He is interested in our character. The character of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is shown in…
Galatians 5:22-23, Good News Translation – 22 But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these.
When we become Christians these nine attributes are the qualities being developed in us by the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t rely on our opinion or the opinions of others to determine our character. (Because we all think we are good people, right?). The Lord tests us. This is totally fair. Even Jesus was tested (He aced his tests by the way–Read Matthew 4:1-11)
Jeremiah 17:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV) – 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
Don’t worry. The Lord will prepare us to pass our tests. First, comes the assessment. The Lord will allow a situation to come into our lives that shows us where we are. Unfortunately, the assessment usually reveals a “complete failure” in some aspect of our life (we all have an area in which we are utterly helpless and desperately wicked).
Funny thing is, before the pre-test, we think we are awesome. Have you ever taken a test and thought you did well, only to get the results back and discover that you failed? I know I have. But the good news is, when we see ourselves accurately—we learn…
- We don’t know everything we thought we knew
- We can’t do everything we thought we could and
- We don’t behave as well as we thought we did
S-o-o-o, we realize, Romans 6:23 applies to us too. (Yes, all people have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, even you! And even me too!) If you have come this far in your thinking, congratulations you have already developed one of the most important characteristics of Jesus Christ…HUMILITY.
Without humility, no further development can occur. Why? Only the humble will admit they need help and ask for it. Now that we have acknowledged our sin, we can simply ask the Holy Spirit to help us and He will. The process of overcoming sin is continually acknowledging (not denying or justifying) our sins and asking the Lord to give us grace (power) to stop.
James 4:5-7 English Standard Version (ESV) – 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the Spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
One of the ways, the Lord gives us power is through His Word. Simply reading or listening to the Word of God gives us the strength the resist sin. The Word of God forms a hedge of protection in our minds against sinful thoughts. When we stop imagining and planning wicked things, we stop doing them.
How does Jesus test our character? Here are just a few ways…
Jesus tests our faith. Do we lose faith if things don’t go our way or happen as soon as we want? What type of attitude do we have while we are waiting on God to respond to our prayers of faith?
James 1:2-5, New King James Version – 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Jesus tests our loyalty. What is our attitude if we experience suffering or difficult times? Do we get angry at God? Do we deny Jesus just to make life comfortable?
1 Peter 4:12-16, New King James Version – 12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
Jesus tests our commitment—are we truly committed to Him or the world? The Lord uses “divine delays” to see what is in our hearts. Do we go back to a sinful lifestyle because we think the Lord is delaying His coming? Do we treat people poorly when no one is watching? Do we do only the bare minimum when it comes to the Lord?
Luke 21:34-36, New King James Version – 34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Jesus tests our love. Imagine a good friend gave you a very expensive birthday gift and you know they really sacrificed in order to purchase it for you. Then, when it’s his birthday, you don’t even bother to send a card. (This is your consistent response to him.) Does this mean you don’t love your friend? Not necessarily. But, it is an indication you don’t value the relationship enough to make an effort.
Jesus loves us passionately and He gave His all for us—even His life. Jesus wants our hearts on fire for Him too—not “lukewarm, nonchalant, lazy, I can take Him or leave Him” kind of hearts.
Revelation 3:15-19, New King James Version – 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
We can pass our tests now…or later. The reward is exemption from the Great Final Exam—the seven-year tribulation period that is about to come upon the whole earth.
Revelation 3:10-11, New King James Version – 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
Shhh…Testing is in progress. Don’t be surprised if The Teacher is quiet. Let’s not get upset if the other students are not responding to all of our questions. Remember, we are all taking our “finals”. It’s time to focus on our relationship with Jesus Christ and obey the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 11:5-6, New King James Version – 5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.