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The Proving Ground 2.0 – week 4

Tests 5 & 6

Pastor Curt Vignery

 

A good reminder for us when we are reading, learning, and discussing all these tests is that God does not test us to break us. There is no intention to destroy. Rather, God tests our faith, our perseverance, and our character to strengthen us. We are told this in James 1:2-4. We are promised that the “testing of your faith produces steadfastness”.

The Authority Test

Often, we hear the word “authority”, and many negative connotations flood our minds. What we need to remember is that God is the author of all authority. There is no authority except that which God has established. Even when those in authority push and test and cause us to struggle, God still expects us to show honor and dignity and kindness and grace.

Our attitude is tested when we encounter difficult authority. Because, ultimately, our attitude toward earthly authority is a direct (and sometimes ignored) reflection of our attitude toward our Heavenly Authority.  The first story of this struggle appears in Genesis. The infamous forbidden fruit. The inability to Adam and Eve to accept authority – and their willingness to go against it.

God uses authority to prepare us for our own authority. Can we follow authority even when we have “better” ways of doing things? Can we support authority without grumbling? Can we run the play even if we disagree?

In God’s kingdom, you can’t lead if you can’t be led. We have to be willing to submit to authority, to be led.

 

The Warfare Test

Warfare is not a made up thing designed to frighten believers into trusting. Warfare is a very real, tangible, noticeable thing that happens when we are in the will of God. It has happened to us all. It happened to Jesus himself.

The enemy knows when to come. He comes when we are alone and hurting and hungry. The enemy came to Jesus after He’d spent 40 days in the desert. Warfare will come. It will rain and be hard and be scary, but the good news is that we are protected by the Almighty. We are surrounded by Him.

Pressure is a privilege on both sides. When the enemy brings warfare, maybe it’s because we are getting too strong for Jesus. We are a threat to the darkness. Pressure means that God also knows we’re strong. Even though God knows hos difficult the warfare is, He allows it to happen because He believes in our ability to rise above. And that in itself should be plenty to help us push through.

The test of warfare is not meant for destruction, but for His magnification. We have to be tested through the furnace to be made stronger. We have to face the fire to be made braver. We have already been made a champion – more than a conqueror. We already have protection. We are already on the winning team. We are already on the side of the One who has already been victorious. The odds are already in our favor.

Despite the warfare, God is in control. No matter how hot the furnace is, God is in control. No matter how high the water rises, God is in control. We have to trust, and allow ourselves to be victorious over warfare.