Friday, June 10, 2011

Measuring Up

     School is finished in the Sunshine State for this school year and this past week was filled with final exams for the local students.  No one was excited about the prospect of test taking, but this is an essential part of the educational process in order to tell if the students have made progress throughout the year.  It also helps teachers consider the weak spots and strengths of their methods as well.
     While testing is a good way to have a clearer picture of where we stand in our education, God also uses tests and trials in our lives to see the depth of our character and commitment to Him.  Are we as faithful to Him as we say we are?  Have we grown in our spirit or do we just think we have?  These are the things which the Lord observes when we are under pressure or are in difficult circumstances.
     Look with me at Ephesians 4:11-16:  "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure  of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ-from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth  of the body for the edifying of itself in love."
     Within the framework of education, we talk about goal setting.  By setting goals, we have a means to measure how we are doing.  The same is true in the Christian walk.  What is God's goal for the believer?  He gives the ministry gifts  for the purpose of  equipping us so we may grow up in the faith, be encouraged and strengthened. He, further, wants us to come into unity and the knowledge of Christ so we become more like Him.  What God does not want us to do is to waver in our faith and jump from doctrine to doctrine.  He wants us on firm foundation.  God wants the believer to know what he believes and why he believes it.
     To accomplish His purpose in our lives, God allows testing and trials to enter each life.  We may receive a challenge from a friend on our beliefs.  A loss might come in terms of a job or a loved one.  Though seemingly harsh at the time, these providential tests serve to strengthen our faith and our commitment to follow Christ.  In my own life, I know that when painful trials come, I am driven to the Word and prayer more intensely than before.  It is in these hours of darkness that I find a closer walk with God for whom else can we trust that never changes and will never leave us?
     God ultimately wants each of us to grow in our faith and learn to work together in unity.  He desires for us to build each other up.  This, in turn,  will cause the whole body of believers to grow in their love for Christ.  Have you noticed how many verses of scripture deal with love?  The Lord wants our love first, but then, He wants us to love each other as a testimony to the world in which we live.  Our actions, words and demonstrations of love for one another is what causes people to take notice.
     How do we measure up, then, in light of this scripture?  We need to meditate on this passage and consider what we can change that will help us to pass through the trials and temptations that are bound to come in life.  We do not need to be tossed around in our faith for we have a firm foundation in Christ.  So begin by asking yourself these questions:  Am I in fellowship with other believers on a consistent basis?  Am I under solid Bible teaching in my church?  Do I read the Bible and pray daily?  Am I accountable to a Body of believers who will straighten me out if I get off track?  Do I love others in the unity of the Holy Spirit?  By taking a daily moral inventory of our lives and evaluating where we stand, we will be able to see how we are working towards the goals which God has for us.  When we see weak areas, we need to take these to our Lord who can minister to us and guide us into all truth.  Think on these things because for the Christian, school is never out until we come home to glory.  Selah!

Father show us where we are weak and guide us into the truth that will strengthen our hearts.  Help us to cling to You in the power of Your Spirit so that we might not sin against You.  Instruct us through Your Word and bless those who are called to minister to the Body of believers that as they preach the power of the Gospel hearts will be changed and You will receive all the honor and glory.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Where are you at in your walk?  If God tested  you today, how do you think you would do?  Please feel free to share your thoughts here with me.  I welcome the interaction.


Anonymous said...

I recently took a course in university on the History of Christianity, but not from a Christian perspective. It really challenged me to think about why I believe the Bible is inerrant and infallible, etc, etc.

Barbara Thayer said...

I think it is good to be challenged in our beliefs and thought processes. It helps us seek out why we believe as we do. It strengthens our least it did for me. We are always going to be challenged in this world it seems. However, we know that we don't have to walk alone because the Lord is there every step of the way. Thanks for coming by Harma Mae.