This week we were thinking about some friends of ours. They are going through a tough time right now and are very angry about their circumstances. We are praying that they pass the test.
What is the test? Each of us throughout life gets to experience times that try our soul – times of pain, times of turmoil, times of rejection, and times when we feel we are being treated unjustly. Each of these situations presents choices to us. Our soul wants to defend our honor, to strike out at those who are not treating us the way we believe we should be treated. Or perhaps circumstances have taken a bad turn and we hurt and can’t understand what we are facing.
Throughout our lives we too have experienced many of these situations. When we were younger and were in our early years of ministry, we always fought to retain our honor or to see circumstances changed to our benefit. When others attacked our character or spoke negative words to us or over us, we felt the need to justify our position and oppose them. We discovered a hard lesson in each of those times, though, and learned that when we defended ourselves or attempted to set the record straight, we only created deeper chasms in relationships and sometimes split people into factions and camps. In no case did we ever succeed in righting the wrongs as we saw them.
Somewhere along the line we discovered that the faster we fell on our knees and sought the mercy of the Lord, the faster the situations were resolved. In each case, when we could ask, “Lord, show me if there is any truth in their accusations, if there is anything within me that You want to change” we experienced an amazing healing and transformation in our lives.
People may not always deliver their lines correctly, but often what they see or what they respond to is something within us that God wants to touch. Whether it be in our marriage or relationships with others, God can use difficult circumstances to bring the dross in our heart to the surface. As long as we defend ourselves and kick against the goad, we hold tight within us what He is seeking to reach. When we can fall on our knees and ask Him to examine our heart, we begin to discover all kinds of things within us that we never would have suspected.
The issue is not whether people are right or wrong or whether circumstances are just or unjust. The enemy likes to keep us focussed there because he knows that only brings justification and turmoil in our own minds. God is more interested in our reaction because that is the true test of where our heart is.
In conflict, under pressure, or in times of betrayal and wounding if we can submit our hearts and our emotions to what God wants to do within us in that hour, we pass the test. Through that submission healing can come, forgiveness can flow, and growth and maturity can flourish. Each time we have the opportunity and we make the right choice, we become more trustworthy in the hands of the Lord. We become soft clay once again on the Potter’s wheel and He can mold us and shape to His desire.
As we write this we are preparing for a Summit of 2=1 leaders from all over the world. We are coming together to seek the Lord regarding His plans and designs for the ministry in this hour. It is a time of wonderful excitement as the Holy Spirit ministers to us new insights and plans direct from the Throne. At almost 71 years of age we are blessed to be right on the ground floor of this new creation. Our energy is being renewed by the day and our vision is expanding to meet His! This past week He spoke to our hearts that this is the reward we receive when we consistently allow Him to examine our hearts and bring correction to our souls.
Whether in marriage or ministry or any other area of our lives, when we faithfully turn our hearts to Him for examination and are willing to return to the Potter’s wheel when He wants to reshape us, we receive the rewards of faithfulness. There is no greater joy than to be right in the center of His will each new day.
We pray for our friends that they may fall on their knees before Him today and pass the test so that they may move in might and power to what He has next for them!
Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. Psalm 26:2
But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4