Certain words in the English language have the ability to trigger a strong emotional response. One of those words is TEST. Walk into an eighth grade Algebra classroom and announce that there is going to be a test on Friday, and watch the various reactions. No matter how knowledgeable you are, a test creates a level of anxiety because what you’ve learned is going to be challenged. According to dictionary.com, a common definition for test is “a set of questions, problems, or the like, used as a means of evaluating the abilities, aptitudes, skills, or performance of an individual or group.” Another definition, however, states that a test is “the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial.” Unfortunately, Christians are all too familiar with this last definition.
“God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.” 2 Chronicles 32:31
God is greatly interested in the condition of our hearts. Often, the only way God can determine the genuineness of our heart is to allow us to go through trials or testing. It is in the moments of pressing and squeezing that our true character and the authenticity of our faith shine through. This process is used to strengthen our beliefs and build a trail of God’s faithfulness in our life.
I love David’s prayer in Psalm 129 verses 23 and 24.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
This prayer made me reflect on what comes out of my own heart when I’m tested. Anyone could have a good attitude when things are going well. What offensive ways come out of me when things are tough or when life seems unfair?
When the trials come, and I promise you they will, what does your heart look like? Is it steadfast, trusting in the promises of God? Or do fear, bitterness, impatience, and anger flow out? Our desire should be to have a pure heart, one that is sold out to God. It should be full of love overflowing, not envy, strife, jealousy, pride, worry or insecurity. If that is what comes out, then it is time to do a heart examination.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10