I recently posted a status update to my Facebook profile that said, “God is testing me while Satan is tempting me.” That has been my experience off and on for the better part of the year…and I’m not alone. If you are striving to live on purpose according to God’s purpose for your life, if you are reaching and stretching to get to the next level, if you just want something better, then you may either be tested by God or tempted by Satan.
When you have studied and have practiced a new behavior, new talk, new walk, a new mindset, or something else new, and you are preparing for something better for you, God will test you to see if you are ready. Just like when you are trying to get a driver’s license. You learn and you practice. When you think you are ready, you go for your test. Pass it, and you can drive. Fail it, and you take it again, if you still want to drive.
God’s tests are similar to that. For example, suppose you want to become a homeowner. You begin to clean up, repair, and care for the home you are in to show that you are a good steward over the home God has already blessed you with before you dare to expect more. You then learn about the home buying process and begin to implement some of the suggested changes and improvements. And of course, you may want to fast and pray. Well, we know that homeownership is part of our inheritance as God’s children, so you already know it’s in His will for you to have a home. But are you ready?
After you have cleaned up your credit, fixed your debt to credit ratio, paid some bills off, and stayed current on all of your current financial obligations, you apply for a home loan. Jumping through all of these hoops to get a home loan was part of your test.
On the flip side, because Satan knows you are trying to claim your inheritance of homeownership, he will tempt you. You may want to splurge and blow your budget going on an expensive vacation because “of course you deserve it,” he says. You may want to buy a brand new car because “it sure would look good in your new garage,” he says, knowing that it would mess up your debt to credit ratio.
When God tests you, it’s always to elevate you to a place where you can be blessed and give Him greater glory. When Satan tempts you, no matter how good it seems, it’s always to bring you down. When God tests you, it’s to test your spirit to see if you are spiritually ready for the responsibility that comes from the blessings that you desire. When Satan tests you, he appeals to your flesh, to put you in sin and keep you in sin. Be strong. Strive to pass the test. Rebuke Satan and he will flee from you.
Here are a few tips to help you along your way:
1. Focus on the lesson. What is the opportunity for growth? How will this develop your character?
2. Step out of the emotion of the situation. Don’t give in to it. In cases of intense anxiety, anger, or emotional pain, it’s unwise to make any important decisions. When people are emotionally charged and faced with important decisions, oftentimes they are unable to see the big picture, they are unable to be objective, and make decisions based on the flesh, instead of the spirit. Reserve life-changing decisions for when you are calmer and a lot less emotional.
3. Do the right thing. In The 21st Century Virtuous Woman: Lessons for Becoming The Woman You Were Meant To Be, Chapter 3 is about doing the right thing, even when you don’t feel like it. I suggest reading it, it’s free.
4. Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. This applies to you, too. Just remember: God tests you and gives you a way to pass the test. Satan tempts. Succumbing to temptation is Satan’s success.
5. Read Proverbs 3: 5-6. You don’t know what God’s doing behind the scene’s in your life. Trust that He is in control and continue to follow His commandments and do His will.
Hang in there, pray without ceasing, and continue to study to show thyself approved! You’ll be alright!
Staying the course,