The verse above reveals a major theme of the Christian life: God tests us before He trusts us with our most important work for His Kingdom. This is how the Message Bible puts it: “God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message. Be assured that when we speak to you we’re not after crowd approval – only God approval. Since we’ve been put through that battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas.” (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4 MSG) The “battery of tests” God will put us through will make sure that we are “not after crowd approval,” but “only God approval.”
The Lord wants us to be led by His Spirit, and not other people. So He will put us in situations where we will have to choose whether we will follow His leadership – even if it attracts criticism and rejection from others – or take the path of least resistance. The apostle Paul wrote, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10 NLT) If we want the Lord to use us to the degree that He longs to, then we are going to have to adopt Paul’s attitude.
I can tell you from personal experience that where Kingdom work is involved, God will test our perseverance. Will we persevere when we see little or no results from our efforts? When we aren’t being encouraged or appreciated? When we aren’t receiving any recognition or reward for our work? How about when it looks like our outreach is shrinking instead of growing?
How will we react when someone criticizes us, or is suspicious of our motives? Will we back off from obeying God, or will we find out from Him what He thinks? Will we stand strong against Satan’s evil strategies to stop the good work we are doing? We can’t expect the devil to stand idly by while we are following God’s will for our lives, especially when it involves advancing the Kingdom of God.
One translation of First Thessalonians 2:4 (NCV) says: “We speak the Good News because God tested us and trusted us to do it. When we speak, we are not trying to please people, but God, who tests our hearts.” If you have made Jesus your Savior and Lord, then God has extraordinary plans for your life, and He has important work for you to do. Pass His tests with the help of His Spirit, and watch Him make you and mold you into a world-changer for Christ!
Prayer: Lord, today, I surrender to You every aspect of my life, and I make myself available to You, and ask You to put me to work in Your Kingdom. Anoint and enable me to pass every test You send my way through the power of Your Spirit. Root out of me every tendency to please people instead of You. When I am tempted to quit or give up on the work You have assigned me, comfort and strengthen me, and send me some special encouragement. Thank You for using me to touch and change lives for Your glory!- J. M. Farro
Promise-Powered Prayers Paperback Book
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