“Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil”.
Do you know when your faith is being tested? Many ask over and over why our faith gets tested? Some doubt that it is God who is the source of the test. Others don’t know when they are going through a faith test.
We call these circumstances God creates to stretch our faith trials. Peter tells us, “Trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold.” (1 Peter 1:7a NLT).
God uses faith tests to bring us closer to Him.
After His baptism, Christ is led by the Holy Spirit out into the wilderness to have His faith test. There, in the wilderness, Christ was alone and there was no one to pray for Him or to give Him advice.
The Devil, playing on Jesus’ hunger, gives the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.” Jesus answers quoting Deuteronomy 8:3: “It takes more than bread to really live.”
Then the Devil led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display, and said, “I’m in charge of all of this. Worship me and they are yours.” Jesus refused, again quoting from Deuteronomy 6:13: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
For the final test, he takes Jesus to the top of Jerusalem’s Temple and said, “If you are God’s Son, then jump, for is it written, ‘He has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you’?” “Yes,” said Jesus, “and it’s also written, do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Luke 4:1-12
Knowing His own strength, Christ gave Satan the advantage; however, because we do not always know our strength or weakness, Satan often has twice the advantage over us.
Christ in all things was made human. He lived in total dependence upon God. When we are in trouble, ‘The Word’ of God, is to be our sword, and it is our faith in that Word that becomes our shield.
All Satan’s promises are deceitful; and if he is permitted to have influence, he will seek to destroy God’s kingdom and use our desires for these temptations as bait to trap us into destruction.
We all have our faith tested, and we often get disappointed by others because we expect them to meet needs only God can meet. Careers, marriages, and even plans don’t turn out the way we planned them, and they test our faith.
Pastor Rick Warren states, “There are four common trials God uses to test our faith, and chances are, each and every one of us in one of these tests right now.” “The pressure test, people test, persistent test and the priority test.”
The Pressure Test: The pressure test asks, “How will you handle stress?” Will you depend on yourself, or will you depend on God?
The People Test: This test asks, “How will you handle disappointment?”
The Persistence Test: The persistence test answers, “Will I keep my commitments?”
The Priorities Test: The most important of the four asks, “Who will be first in your life?” What do you think about the most? Where does your money go first? How do you spend your time? Your answers will reveal the priorities of your life.
Again Warren points out, “Life is about making commitments. The problem many have today is most people are half committed to two dozen things, instead of being totally committed to the one or two things in life that really matter for now, and for eternity.”
Our victorious Redeemer passed all of His tests and conquered sin by using the Word of God, not only for Himself only, but also for us.
When our faith gets tested, we should reject every temptation and see them as the price the Devil offers us for our souls. Instead of seeking worldly riches, honors, and happiness, we should seek the riches of worship and service to God.
The Rev. R. Joaquin Willis, D. Min., is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org