Our Tests of Faith
By Michael Wodlinger, Quebec Representative
Regard it all as joy, my brothers, when you face various kinds of temptations; for you know that the testing of your trust produces perseverance. James 1:2,3
For Followers of The Way, testing of our faith is a common occurrence. We face temptations on a daily basis. Such temptations, when grasped, pull us away from Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, and off the narrow Way for a time. Where do these tests originate and why do we receive them?
Do you remember the comedian, Flip Wilson? His famous punch-line was, “The devil made me do it.” I have often heard believers tell me their indiscretions were satanic-based. In other words, they had no responsibility for what happened through or to them.
Did you know that 90% of all cancers originate from human activity – the food we eat, the pollutants we spew into the air and water and from what we dump and plough into the land. During the past twenty years, we have seen steady erosion in the quality of the human immune system, brought about by an almost obsessive need for cleanliness.
In the same way, did you know that over 99% of the events that befall us are caused either by our decisions or the decisions of others. Less than 1% of events in our lives may be laid on the back of satan.
I do belittle the problems you are currently experiencing. Indeed, suffering from an incurable condition/disease myself, I understand levels of distress. My point in this short teaching is to encourage an understanding of testing – spiritual, psychological and physical – followed by accepting our responsibility and seeking God’s healing help.
An important question to be addressed as a starting point might be: Why would God allow us to be tested? Rav Sha’ul, the Apostle Paul, can shed some light on this. In Romans 12:2, Sha’ul writes: “In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh (the world of flesh). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.” How might Yahveh lead us towards the transformation process? Perhaps through a test, using something we have encountered and experienced. Sometimes God needs to get our attention before we will listen to him.
Again, recognizing the role testing plays in our lives, Sha’ul provides another possible reason, as found in 2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves to see whether you are living the life of trust. Test yourselves. Don’t you realize that Yeshua the Messiah is in you? — unless you fail to pass the test.” I hope you caught the nuance of Sha’ul’s caveat – “unless you fail to pass the test.”
Some of us do claim to have Adonai Yeshua, our Messiah, in us and then we discover a major flaw in our characters that may be an indication all is not well in our own spiritual lives.
One truth is very clear: Yahveh, our Beloved Abba, will never allow us to be tempted and tested beyond what we can endure. This truth is supported first by Rav Sha’ul, in 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and God can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure.” Then in Hebrews 4:15, we read of Adonai Yeshua’s temptations and how He passed through them, not in His own strength, but in the strength of the Father Who cares for the wellbeing of us all.
Beloved, do not shy away from tests which are designed to strengthen us and ensure our faith is strong. Be assured our loving Abba will never allow us to endure a test which will damage our souls or our everlasting, eternal connection with Him.
CONSIDER: Are you experiencing a test (physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual) right now? Have you considered the connection that test might have with your relationship with God, our Heavenly Father, or your trust in His Promises?
ACTION: Rather than dismissing the possibility of this being a test Yahveh is allowing to draw you closer to Him, I suggest you go to Him; approach His throne in prayer and seek His guidance, His leadership and His comfort.
PRAYER: Abba, Beloved Elohim, there are millions of believers around the world today facing tests of their faith. I pray, Abba, for Your guidance and leadership, as they seek answers to the vital question. Why? I pray for their security, as they travel through their unique tests, and that you show them the escape hatch that will ensure their security. In the name of our beloved Messiah Yeshua and in Your beloved name I pray.
May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.