When I was 15 years old I spent 16 hours with Dave’s Driving School. 8 hrs of class time and 8 hrs driving. But I flunked the first time I took the road test. I flunked my driver’s test!!! However, I passed it the second time. Tests are good to make sure we know what we should know.
But what about faith? How do you test your faith? John Maxwell said, “A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted”.
At the end of the Last Supper (Luke 22:21-38), Jesus gave details about the next few hours. The apostles will be tested and He won’t be around.
In addition to the original 12 disciples, contemporary disciples have their faith is tested. What tests our faith?
But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. (Luke 22:21-23)
Jesus announced that one at the table will betray Him. Jesus knew it was Judas. Jesus knew Judas would betray Him before He chose him to be an apostle.
Matthew 26:22 tells us the disciples asked “Lord, is it I?” Yet, Judas, rather than “Lord” said “Master, is it I?” (Matt. 26:25). Judas never called Jesus “Lord”, only “Master”. Judas was never a true Christian, only a follower and he would fail Jesus. The truth that one would fail was a test of faith for the others.
When I was in high school I served with our children’s pastor. Over time, he left the ministry and his wife. It rocked my faith for awhile. Failure, your own or others, will test your own faith.
How will you respond to failure?
And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. (Luke 22:24-26)
Greatness in God’s kingdom is evidenced by service. Rather than concern for Jesus’ death, the disciples focused which of them was the greatest. Jesus presented two definitions of greatness: (1) As viewed by the Gentiles, greatness is the least serving the greatest; (2) As viewed by God, greatness is the greatest serving the least. In fact, in the other gospels Jesus showed them what it meant to be great by washing their feet.
John Galbraith’s family housekeeper, Emily Wilson, was told not to disturb his nap. President Lyndon Johnson called. She said, “He is sleeping, Mr. President.“Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him.” “No, Mr. President. I work for him not you.” When the President did talk to Galbraith he said, “Tell that woman I want her here in the White House.” True service is a great character quality.
Who will you serve today?
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. (Luke 22:31-34)
Jesus predicted Peter’s denial and prays for his faith. Satan wants Peter but Jesus won’t let him. But he will be sifted like wheat so pure faith will remain. Peter boasted that he would never deny Jesus, but did three times. No matter how confident we may feel about ourselves, we are all human. No matter how devoted we may be to Christ, we will all fail. But Jesus will hold us.
A similar situation happened to Job. Satan begged to bring disaster to his life and God allowed it. Job lost his wealth, his family, and his health, but he retained his faith.
Jesus said he would be “converted” after his denial. Was Peter not converted? Convert means to change. When Peter’s faith was tested, he would fail, but be forgiven. His failure would change his life and make him a stronger person. God would use this experience to warn and strengthen others to the danger of sin. Peter was saved once when he followed Christ. But he was converted (changed) after he fell into sin. Peter would use his failure to strengthen others.
What are you doing to protect against Satan’s attack?
And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (Luke 22:35-36)
The future demands preparation and trust. Jesus signaled that things will be different in the future. His arrest, trial and crucifixion would trigger persecution for His followers. They were to take whatever supplies and resources they had for survival and self-defense.
It is important to prepare for the future. But don’t live in fear. We have fire drills in school, yet seldom have a fire; car insurance, yet seldom have accidents; smoke alarms in our home, but very few of us have a house fire. It is wise to prepare for the unknown, but we still must trust God.
Have you given your future to God? Do you trust Him?
Some time in your future you will have an experience that will rock your faith. But you’re going to make it. Why? Because God has been testing your faith in so many little ways to strengthen it. You will stand because your faith is strong and Jesus is praying for you. You will make it.
When a teacher in school gives a test, they never say much during the test because the test is designed to show what students know based on what the teacher had already taught. Once you get a test from God, you might not hear much from Him. But He is watching and rooting for you. In fact, Jesus is praying for this to make your faith stronger.