Saturday, April 6, 2013

You Don’t Need A Test In Order To Have A Testimony

There are many phrases heard within the four walls of the church. Some make us smile, while others fail to bring intended comfort. For example, we seldom if ever hear the phrase, “God is in control” until something bad has taken place. In such a situation, this particular phrase is meant to comfort those affected by what may have happened. However, in reality, temporary comfort may come, but will never last. Believing God is the one who chooses what does and does not happen will eventually lead to bitterness and a lack of trust on our part toward God. Remember, we cannot look to God as being the source of our problems and also look to Him as being the solution.

There are other phrases such as, “God is good all the time and all the time God is good!” as well as “The best is yet to come”. Many of these phrases sound great and some of the ideas behind these phrases are indeed found in scripture. However, there are many ideas floating around in the church that are spoken, but have no literal basis found in the written Word of God. Some of these phrases will open the door to the devil and take our focus off God without our realizing what is taking place. One of the phrases in question is found below.

You cannot have a testimony without a test”.

There are a number of variations to the statement written above, but I am sure you get the point. You may have even made this statement based on what has taken place in your own life or in the lives of those around you. However, this particular statement is not found in scripture. More importantly, if we believe we must have a test in order to have a testimony, what reason do we have to resist any problem(s) we may face? After all, if God is in control, He must have allowed or caused everything we face in life. Why should we resist any of our problems? In doing so, we may be resisting God or at the very least, trying to stop the will of God short of its intended purpose. Of course, we have already looked at the fact that God is not in control of everything that does and does not take place upon the earth. We have also examined the fact that our problems do not come to aid us in the growth of our faith.

I laugh at the fact that someone would ever look to the word, testimony, and come up with the phrase, “You cannot have a testimony without a test”, because the first four letters of the word testimony form the word test. Sadly, this has indeed happened and due to the large following of those who use this line of thinking, many believe anything that comes out of their mouth as being truth. Later in this book, we will look at the most important qualifications we should use to determine whom we will and will not receive from.

God is too good to leave us in the dark at any time. In fact, He has given us the Holy Spirit to reveal to us all things (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit will also bring all things to our remembrance, which will aid us in numerous situations throughout life. Another important aspect of the Holy Spirit is seen in John 16:13.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

Notice the last few words of John 16:13: and he will shew you things to come. One of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to show (shew) us things to come. This includes problems we may face. God shows us what is going to happen in order that we may avoid the issue all together. In some cases, we cannot control what is taking place due to the choices being made by others, but we can seek God as to how we should handle what is going to happen ahead of time. In others words, nothing should ever take us by surprise. While I realize this is not always the case, it should be, based upon God’s faithfulness to us.

"I laugh at the fact that someone would ever look to the word, testimony, and come up with the phrase, “You cannot have a testimony without a test”, because the first four letters of the word testimony form the word test."

On the other hand, there are situations we can find ourselves moving toward, but by following the instruction of God as He speaks to us via the Holy Spirit, we can avoid such things. This reminds me of one of many examples I have from the times when I missed it concerning God’s warning. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. God did not condemn me when I did not heed the warnings of the Holy Spirit, but because He does not control everything that happens on the earth and the fact that we all have a free will, if we do not heed His warnings, we may find ourselves in less than desirables situations.

One night as I was driving home, I approached an intersection at which I could turn in order to drive home. In doing so, I would have taken the long way home. On this particular night, I thought about taking the turn, but decided to keep driving in order to drive to the next area at which I could turn in order to take the short way home. I had found myself thinking I should take the long way home, but decided not to do so. As it turned out, I ended up being forced over toward the curb by a driver who failed to signal when he changed lanes. The end result was two blown tires on my car. It was not the end of the world, but cost money and time as well as created frustration that did not have to come about.

I realize that some may say, “Oh, it could have been worse! God kept you safe.” While this notion could be true, the ultimate answer is the fact that God tried to keep me from dealing with the problem in the first place. Had I recognized God’s warning and taken the long way home, the incident would have never taken place at all. In all reality, I simply did not recognize God’s voice.

Many will say, “I don’t always hear God’s voice”. Please allow me to show you how easy it is to hear and recognize God’s voice. How many times have you ever run into a situation in which you said, “I knew something was telling me”? You may finish the sentence however you wish. Some may say, “I knew something was telling me not to do that and I’m glad I listened”. On the other hand, some, such as myself in the situation I mentio0ned earlier, might say, “I knew something was telling me not to drive in that direction. I wish I had listened”. That something is God speaking to us via the voice of the Holy Spirit. There is never a time when we face problems of any sort in which God did not place a roadblock in our path in an effort to keep us out of trouble. God truly does not want His children to suffer!

A test may bring about a great testimony; however, I would rather my testimony be one of the fact that I avoided the test (problem) in the first place.

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