Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Test, the Best and the Rest

The Test, the Best and the Rest And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen Matthew 6 v 13 A certain believer I know puzzled over this verse for a long time. He wondered how can the absolutely holy God “lead us into temptation.” As he kept searching for an answer, the Lord revealed to him that He never tempts any one. He only blesses His children as He has promised in His Word. He denies no good thing from them that love Him. He however allows Satan to tempt us as a test of our faith and obedience. When we are blessed abundantly and prosper in a material sense, the abundant blessing itself becomes the temptation to take our eyes off the Lord and make the material blessings the focus of our attention. Such a folly has befallen many a leading evangelist and teacher in virtually every nation. When we pray, “ Lord, lead us not into temptation,” we are in effect praying that He puts a hedge of protection around ourselves and our loved ones. The evil one will try to make our blessings a source of temptation. This prayer meant sincerely will insure and insulate us from such temptation. Even when we are materially and otherwise abundantly blessed, we will not focus on this but retain our first love for God. We will learn to wear the full armour of God to protect us from fiery arrows that are fired from deep within our selves and not just from an external source. The Lord will test the allegiance of our heart as He tested the faith and obedience of Abraham. He tested the faith and submission of Job. He tested the faith of the apostles. Judas failed and he was overcome. Peter failed but he overcame. Deliverance is at hand even when we fail as long as we throw ourselves at the mercy of the Lord and avail further grace to overcome our fear, our doubt, our lust and our pride. The former President Abdul Kalam has written in the vein of many new age philosophers, that every day we must say to ourselves that “ I am the best.” How can a lie by just being repeated day after day become the truth? Instead, we need to say, “ I may not be the best but I will do my best to get there.” Once we get deliverance from external threats and internal temptations, we can join in praising the Lord for sharing His kingdom,His dominion, His authority, His influence, His power, His name, His inheritance, His grace and His accomplishments with us. We are partners in His mission to save us and the world. But, the Lord is very practical: only when we are assured we are saved and safe forever in the bosom of the Lord, in the lap of His affection, having secured the stamp of approval on our passport to heaven, then can we reach out to others with a finger to point the direction, a helping hand to pull them up from the pit in which they are fallen or stuck. I can say along with Job that I have been tested often in fire but my faith has come forth out of the furnace more burnished and pure like gold. It is only after the test,we can be included among the best and then,we can enter His rest. Prateep V Philip

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