Standing the Test

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rodanderson
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I read somewhere that our God is not seeking a powerful people to represent Him. But rather He looks for those who are weak, foolish, despised and maybe even written off, and then He inhabits them with His own strength. This is such a beautiful truth about the “big-ness” of God’s love for those He created. This is His best insurance against anybody thinking that WE can do great things. This is also why He enjoys asking us to do “impossible” things.

Think about it. If WE could do something through our natural gifting’s or talents, then who would “get the glory?” We would. Attention would be drawn to ourselves and people would pat US on the back, saying, “Wow! Look what YOU did!” The Father said “no flesh will glory in His presence.” Why? Because He gives us impossible tasks, so that when these tasks are accomplished, people will say, “Wow! Look what God has done THROUGH you!” All glory or attention should go to Him. Not because our God is some kind of divine egotist; no, but because He knows He Himself is the only TRUE answer to mankind’s woes.

While indeed He does GIVE strength to us in tough times, He’s actually more interested in wanting to BE our strength, as we come to Him in our weakness. All through our lives God is wanting for us to learn what it means to surrender to Him more and more, until we find ourselves completely dependent upon Him for our wisdom, our strength, our everything.

This is once again why our prayer lives are so important. For over thirty years of teaching one of my favourite statements is found in Clarke’s Commentary of the verses in Matthew that we call the Lord’s prayer. Clarke wrote, “Prayer is the language of dependence. He who prays not seeks to live independently from God.”

That struck me so deep all those years ago, when I put that in my own words and found myself saying, “When I don’t pray, I’m making a declaration of independence! I’m basically saying “I don’t need God; I can do it myself.” As an American we celebrate our Independence Day every July 4th. It was of course when we made our declaration of independence from Britain (sorry my British friends!) and chose to live and grow on our own. But how crazy is it to declare our independence from God Almighty, the One who made us? Now of course we would hopefully never say that’s what we want to do, the fact remains that when we don’t yield ourselves to Him in prayer, or invite Him into our life’s activities, we’re declaring WE can do it ourselves! Not very smart.

This is why every tough situation can wind up giving glory to God. People of the world stand amazed when they see God’s people go through tragedy and hardship, yet maintaining their personal peace. It mystifies them. They can’t understand how we can still remain sane when all hell seems to break loose in our lives. Now I’m not saying this is always easy, but maturing in Christ will always bring this kind of peace into one’s life.

This is some of what is meant in Ephesians 4:15 when Paul says that you, “may grow UP INTO him in all things…” The more our lives become “hid in Him” the less the things of this world agitate us. Our confidence is greater in Him, than in this world. We begin living more in alignment with His Kingdom than we do in the world’s ways. You know you’re making progress, when the world “thinks it strange” that you don’t run around crazy like maybe you were used to, (1 Peter 4:4).

The world around us needs to see our dependence upon God. This happened often among the Old Testament heroes. Think of Noah building a huge ark when there were no large bodies of water anywhere. Think of Joshua obeying God’s plan for victory by simply walking around a walled city for 6 days, and then just shouting on the 7th day? How about Gideon having his army reduced to one percent of its original number, just because of how God liked some of them drinking water? This changed Gideon’s odds from 4:1 to 400:1 in favour of his enemies! This made dependency upon God a big deal!

Somehow we have to understand this, so we won’t be “afraid” when trials and testings come. Its never that God is the author of a trial; trials come simply because we’re in a lost world that is decaying. But God knows this doesn’t He? No, again its because He wants to be glorified in our weakness! He wants the world to see how big He really is! He wants the world to see how much He loves His own children. Ultimately His plan is for the lost to “want” Him!

So do not fear when troubles come or trials persist. God has NOT forgotten you, and He has NEVER seen the righteous forsaken. While this next verse if hopefully very familiar to you, let it speak loudly to you again. In fact may it be tattooed upon your soul forever:

Hebrews 13:5b – Amplified Bible

“For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down [relax My hold on you]! Assuredly not!”

Notice the phrase three times in the Amplified Bible; “I will not, I will not, I will not.” In a Greek lexicon its called a “triple imperative” suggesting the STRONGEST intent or declaration! Its like God is shouting, screaming, yelling so loudly that all the heavens and planets might hear Him, that He will NEVER forsake you! In other words He’s “pretty serious” about this! Ha!

This should produce great faith in us, that we might persevere, stand the test, be found steadfast at His coming, and our very lives declaring that we are totally dependent upon our faithful Lord and God, who deeply loves and cares for us as His children!

Stand the test! You’re not alone.

Rod Anderson