This morning as I was getting ready I was listening to a book I’m “reading” The Spirit of Python: Exposing Satan’s Plan to Squeeze the Life Out of You” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>(The Spirit of Python: Exposing Satan’s Plan to Squeeze the Life Out of You)it referenced 40 being the number that equates to testing.
When I heard it I recognized that I (we, if you joined the fast/feast) am in a 40 Day test. This season of fasting and feasting is a season of being tested.
I don’t like being tested. In fact there have been a handful of times I’ve been really, seriously, angry and I am almost 100% sure the words, “Don’t test me” came out of my mouth. I’m much more of an upfront person. Lets just say what needs to be said and be done. Don’t play games, don’t wait to see what I’m going to do or how I’m going to react. I feel like life is easier when we all just put our cards on the table and deal with it, upfront, outright. Say what you mean, mean what you say and do it. No testing required. It’s insulting. I bristle at the idea that someone expects me magically understand what they are thinking and respond perfectly or to be in a situation that I know the other person has a “correct” way for me to act or respond, I have this rebellious side that flares up and pretty much always wants to act or respond in the way they anticipated/expected but is considered “wrong” in their mind.
I hated testing in school. Stressed me out so much. I placed all my value and worth on those marks… Wrong, right, pass, fail. I’m not a good test taker. I get overly stressed, agonize over everything and beat myself up for wrong answers. Or I swing all the way over and fly through not paying attention to details. It is a daily struggle for me to remember my value and worth are determined by my Heavenly Father and not how well I preform.
I like the “Christianeze” idea of testing. I like to be trite and use it on occasion to help me “explain” a situation , for myself or regrettably, for others. And I’ve more times than I’m proud to admit, have tested others. Needing or wanting something from them that I’m not willing to voice and waiting and judging to see if they get it right.
My flesh wants to respond to this knowledge of “being tested” I have two equal and yet competing responses… (1) I will ace this. I’m going to get to the end with all A’s and check marks on everything! (2) Don’t test me. I’m done. I’m out. No more fasting and feasting for me.
This morning I felt the Holy Spirit tell me this isn’t what this testing is about. This is about the Lord clearly stating what He wants for me, how this part of my journey looks, and asking me if I’m going to trust Him to lead me through. Will I trust Him when He tells me the power of life and death are in the tongue? Will I trust Him when He tells me whatever I give up in His name He will give back to me double? Will I trust Him when He tells me He can give me all the strength necessary, that He is the Bread of Life and Living Water? Will I trust Him when He tells me He is my Heavenly Father who has promised to never leave me or forsake me?
The Lord has been working on me for quite a while about having Grace for testing. Mostly when I see it in others. As usual, He brought a visual to mind. A while back I grabbed my step stool to hang up a new rack in my closet. While I was on it, it broke. Flew out from under my feet. I was holding the very heavy rack and a cordless drill and I thought someone had kicked the stool out from under me. Nope, it just broke. I had bumps and bruises but no major injury, thank you Jesus!
This happened about a year or more ago, I still inspect and test everything before I stand on it. Sometimes it’s common sense, reasonable, and wise but sometimes the testing is out of fear, the goal is always to determine if it withstand my full weight so I can do the task before me.
This is the testing we are in. We need to know if we can put our full weight on our Heavenly Father. WE need to know. He already knows. He isn’t testing us to see if we get it “right”. He is leading us through testing so we know He is trustworthy.
Immediately James 1 came to mind… I’m kinda thinking about writing this in a different way so I googled “testing” in scripture. I read each one and then went back, to where the Lord lead me in the first place… I added some of my thoughts in purple…
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, (I mean really who doesn’t want this as the description of who you are?)
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
Testing of Your Faith
2Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (sure, dependable, reliable, constant, unwavering. Steadfast, staunch, steady imply a sureness and continuousness that may be depended upon. Steadfast literally means fixed in place, but is chiefly used figuratively to indicate undeviating constancy or resolution: steadfast in one’s faith. Staunch literally means watertight, as of a vessel, and therefore strong and firm; figuratively, it is used of loyal support that will endure strain)
4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (This is where I realized that I was going to write what He said, not what I was thinking…. The testing proves steadfastness which then makes sure that all of our needs are meet according to His riches and glory. Lacking in nothing…Because I’ve trusted Him at His Word and allowed Him to provide. NOT because I’ve fasted and earned it or passed the test, received it as the bonus.)
5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
12Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
16Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
Hearing and Doing the Word
19Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (I mean this is pretty perfect for our 40 Day Word Fast!)
22But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
25But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (Ouch, but oh so needed this reminder!)
27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (LOVE! Can we all just go ahead and get this tattooed on our foreheads?!! OR better yet, let’s tattoo it on super “religious” people— ha!…..ugh, of which I have been,so back to tattooing on everyone’s forehead! )
Finally, (thanks for hanging in here the whole time!) as I sat down to begin typing, the title came to mind. I realized that sometimes the testing, as in Testing, testing 1,2,3…is to make sure we can be heard. Mic check. Is everything working as it was set up to work? If not, then this is the perfect time to correct what needs to be corrected, plug in what needs plugged in, makes switches, changes and adjustments, so that everything comes in crystal clear and amplified. 40 days of fasting and feasting on His Word and Presence seems like a perfect time for a mic check, is His voice coming in loud and clear, above all others? What changes, adjustments do you need to make, do you need to plug something in or unplug something? Am I listening for Him? And have I found the sweet spot of understanding He wants to hear my voice clearly, He wants me to remove the static of sin and this messy life so He can hear me, hear my words and my heart. How crazy is it that the Creator of all the universe, wants to hear my voice… He wants to hear your voice.
Oh how I love how sweet our Heavenly Father is to each of us. How He draws us in to a new level of insight and love and revelation through the very thing our (my) flesh used to bristle at!