INESCAPABLE. Reality is unavoidable if living an abundant life is our serious goal. Truth is inexorably relevant for understanding and exploring purpose. Purpose is the underpinning premise of life. And yet, what comes with the territory of truth, purpose, the abundant life, and reality, is the test.
If we’re alive in Christ — awake in the Spirit, I mean — then we may say that, even though God does not tempt us, He does allow life’s circumstances to test us. We can say this is true, because that’s how life works.
Tests. They’re part of the routine, run-of-the-mill, ordinary, day-by-day life. They come cloaked in obviousness as much as they’re often unanticipated. Hindsight sees tests far better than foresight does.
And what does the test require? The right response, of course.
Now the apostle Peter had different things in mind when he wrote this:
“Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.”
— 1 Peter 3:16 (NRSV)
But it applies equally the same regarding tests. If our conscience is clear, and we’re able to see the test for what it is, then we have the capacity to respond maturely in love rather than react in the immaturity of fear. When? Importantly, not if, but when.
The test of discipleship is how well we accept and embrace the presence of tests.
If we can see the tests of life as the proving ground of our trust, we won’t resent them. We may be blessed with awareness of tests, and of faith to surrender in the presence of them.
What could be better than experiencing a test, seeing it for what it is, and responding well? This is the proving of our faith.
Steve Wickham is a pastor and writer who hold Degrees in science, Divinity, and Counseling.