Guest Article by Ray Ashmore
There comes a point in the life of every Christian, whether lay or clergy (I hate those words), when THE TEST comes. When it comes we don’t know. My test came at a particular time in my life when God sought to prove His work in me. Your test would undoubtedly come at a different point in life from mine, because you are not me. You have your own personal identity, your own personal walk with Christ, your own issues and callings, your own growth process.
A.W.Tozer wrote, “If we are set upon the pursuit of God, He will sooner or later bring us to this test... So we will be brought one by one to the testing place, and we may never know when we are there. At that testing place there will be no dozen possible choices for us-just one and an alternative-but our whole future will be conditioned by the choice we make.”
Believe me, THE TEST will come. And what is it? It is essentially a threshold of obedience that the Lord brings us to, a challenge to choose Him rather than our own pleasures, possessions, and pride.. It can be as seemingly mild a command as, “Don’t eat this piece of fruit. There are negative consequences to it,” or as serious as, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height.”
But what about repentance, you ask? If we’re disobedient, can we be forgiven? Of course. But remember, this isn’t just run-of-the-mill disobedience, although it may appear that way. This is THE TEST. The children of Israel sinned in the wilderness with the worship of the golden calf, with fornications of all sorts, with challenges to Moses leadership. But those weren’t THE TEST. The test was this: Are you willing to cross over into the unknown promised land with God, believe His promises, remain obedient to Him and accept the challenges He will bring?
THE TEST: follow the Lord into this new life relationship, or shrink back from fear into what had brought some degree of satisfaction and security previously. Will God forsake the us in the wilderness? No. But our lives won’t be the same. The window of opportunity to grow into victorious, adventurous warriors for Christ is shut—at least for now. Will there be another window of opportunity? I don’t know. There was another opportunity for the Hebrew children—after the unbelieving generation died. If God can kill off our fears and increase our obedient faith, then yes. But only God knows.
Churches are a strange amalgam; congregations with those who have passed THE TEST sitting side-by-side with those who’ve flunked. Flesh and Spirit together--the Promised Land ones all wrapped up in trying to get the wilderness ones on board with God’s will (with enough frustration to make the obedient want to strike the rock).
Those who passed THE TEST, who are walking in obedience to Jesus Christ, are wanderers, seeking for those who are like-minded, who are called to walk hand-in-hand in the same direction. Will they find true patriots of the Kingdom to companion them on their spiritual pilgrimage? In this life, I don’t know. What I do know is this: what makes the journey worth traveling is the joy and delight that comes from THE PRESENCE.
What will be the end result? I do know that God will sort it out, accomplish His will and purify His bride—even if some who have no oil fail THE TEST._________________
Raymond E. Ashmore
Imparting Life Ministries
First Love Ministry
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Page created May 20, 2019