Kingdom Principle: God promotes via a test, Satan provokes via tempting.
The fruit of the test is Humility & Confidence.
|Job 23:1-9, 16-17 Psalm22:1-15||Hebrews 4:12-16||Mark 10:17-31|
The world has created a fear reaction to the concept of a test. This post addresses the reality that humanity is resistant to being asked to think beyond the immediate question and circumstance, to look at the much larger picture. Regardless of where you have stood on the “common core” debate/debacle. The call here is to think beyond getting the right answer to the wrong question.
How do you enter a test mentally? Is a test a good thing or a bad thing? The second question is a trap, which we will address below. First let’s look at the power of a test:
- You cannot drive a car unless you take a driver’s test, and until you meet the criteria to take that test you are prevented from ever being behind the wheel. Therefore the freedom of driving is achieved by a means of a promotion due to a test.
- You cannot take a test in order to pass a class, unless you had the opportunity to sit under a teacher who as the credentials to help you learn.
- You cannot take a test for your health unless you have someone to provide the health care.
Therefore, a test is a privilege offered to you by someone who has gone before you to be in position to affirm your achievement/advancement, and in response they grant you promotion. God promotes His Children and Servants throughout His Kingdom through a series of tests. Satan on the other hand is a deceiver and seeks to steal, kill and destroy us – not to promote or inspire us to grow. In fact Satan will provoke us and prod us through tempting seeking to destroy our hope. The test of last week’s post, what not to advance or accomplish (according to the ways of the world), rather the test was to sit and be still. Did you experience the promotion?
In Genesis we find the origin of “the test” verses “the temptation”. It Genesis 2 we find the tale of two trees.(most mistake this and only remember the one tree – see verse Gen. 2:9) The Tree of Life AND Tree of knowledge of Good & Evil. Satan used these trees to provoke a test. The reality is that God had provided a test previous to this to prepare Adam for this temptation. Adam passed the test, but failed the temptation. The test is found in Gen. 1:28, creating man in his own image, God blessed and charged him to “Be Fruitful… Subduing the earth… and have dominion over the animals. Satan’s temptation has not changed since the Garden.
This week are confronted with the reality that Job and David both feel very distant and separated from God, yet the truth is that this is not the reality, but rather in the midst of a test, they are closer to God than possible outside a test. God has drawn them to the awareness of the tale of two trees in their own lives. (Adam faced these trees, they faced these trees, and we face these trees.) We know a tree by its fruit, (Matt. 7:15-20) below is a table showing us the fruit to know the difference between a test and a temptation.
| Tree of Life >
\/ Tree of Knowledge
|Good||God’s good, pleasing and perfect will by a renewed mind.
|“Good” that does not lead to life. (Foolishness)
|Evil||Intended to bring harm, but redeemed for life.
|Godlessness and wickedness motivated by a depraved mind
God only provides test to promote us to Life – that will always be his focus as should it be ours. We are to ask ourselves does this decision bring life or death. Satan will tempt us to focus our attention on if something is good or evil. Therefore when we take the “bait” of Satan asking if something is good or evil, the opportunity for death is always present regardless if it begins as good or evil. (Satan cannot remove the possibility of Life to come from both the choice good and evil, but his power to lead to death are nullified by our choice to choose life. (Deut. 30) To take only from the tree of life, is to deny death its opportunity. (In the boxes are quick notes of Romans to highlight this reality.) When we ask “WHY” is something happening in our life – this is the temptation for the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil. To choose life, is to pass the test.
This week, we see that Job knows he is in a Test, but is friends want to prove he has done something evil. Hebrews 4 demonstrates that Jesus was tempted, yet we know the Father’s will was his choice and confidence is our hope. Mark 10 shows us the invitation to a test by Jesus for the rich young man, to which we do not see the end result, only the immediate choice. Notice that Jesus looked at him and loved him. This love is the fruit of the tree of Life. As the rich man walks away – he is pondering the WHY – which leads him to an uncertain future. The disciples are shown that all those who pass the test, receive promotion in this life and in age to come. The Psalm walks us through the agony of a test, but clings to the faith and hope that nothing can overcome God’s Justice in Christ’s Righteousness. Overall we learn that those who seek the will of God have confidence in their choices, yet walk humbly by faith.
Our Test”er” is the Holy Spirit who brings conviction to our hearts for the sake of Justice and Righteousness (John 16:7-8) This conviction promotes us to seek only the Tree of Life, rather than the Tree of Knowledge.
The fruit of the Tree of Life is Confidence & Humility. As we submit ourselves to God’s justice, there is no invitation to the enemy. Our confidence leads us to become more than conquerors who prevail. (Romans 8) As Christ’s Righteousness prevails over us, in Humility we become a living sacrifice of worship. (Romans 12)
The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil is Compromise & Haughtiness. The test of God will begins with the Holy Spirit and yields victory in your spirit. The temptation of the enemy will begin in our “flesh nature” and yield victory in the eyes of the world alone.
A couple questions to keep us moving forward:
- Where are you still searching and longing for an answer to WHY?
The choice to choose life, versus the temptation of WHY, requires you to enter the darkness of your heart inviting God to be the light.
2. Where are you victorious (a conqueror) in God’s good, pleasing & perfect will?
Where you don’t have an answer to the second question – it is likely to lead you to a compromise or haughtiness with regard to the first question regarding WHY.
If you long to have an answer to the second question regarding God’s will, ask for it – seek it out and discover what steps God will take to be ready for a promotion (via a test) in God’s Kingdom.