The Testing of Our Faith

When the Word talks about the testing of our faith, I have a sneaking suspicion more than a few of us are unsure of what that means. We may have faced testing but not understood what Jesus was doing. Testing of our faith can be summarized in one word; choice. To explain how this works will require a few more words.

All choices that we make come from our free will. The free will God gave us is sacred and He will never violate it. We cannot violate the will of any individual either, without severe consequences. That is how serious it is. The will is so important that Jesus tells us about it in His Prayer, “Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be your Name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10. He also refers to His will when He was in the garden, “Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.” Luke 22:42.

The ‘will’ of any person is the gatekeeper to the spirit core of every person and determines their eternal fate.

The Testing of Our Faith Checkout

I was at a grocery store once and noticed that just past the clerk were two conveyor belts for purchased groceries. After a person had purchased their groceries, and was bagging them, the clerk would swing a gate to one side so she could slide the next person’s groceries to the unused conveyor belt. That gate allowed the clerk to control where the groceries would go. This illustrates how the will works.

We all have experiences that come to us throughout our day; funneled by the will into our spirit core. Likewise, we have many thoughts and feelings that arise from within our spirit core. They could be from our spirit or they could come from ‘self’. We may not know which, in fact when we are immature it is almost impossible to know the difference. Whatever the source, it is our will, our choice, that determines whether we will act on these thoughts and emotions. With thousands of choices made each day, many done unconsciously, our choices affects others around us as well as ourselves. All of these decisions will determine the growth and power of either our spirit or ‘self’.

Each decision, especially the tiny ones we don’t think matter, build and strengthen either our ‘self’ or spirit. If we feed ‘self’ it will control more and more of our decisions. If we feed spirit, then our spirit will control more and more of our decisions.

Every person has a will that grows and matures. The unfortunate reality is the spirit and ‘self’ nature inside battle for control all the time. The first assault we face on earth from the moment we are born is against our ‘will’ by our ‘self’ nature. ‘Self’ takes control of our will so we pursue ‘self’; aided and abetted by the world and satan. It is not a fair fight because satan and ‘self’ have no qualms about violating the sovereignty of our will. Once our will is co-opted only a pitched battle will free us from the control of ‘self’. Thankfully God has made provisions to help but He will not make our decisions for us. These decisions are our responsibility alone.

The Testing of Our Faith Wolves

Our choice will always be, will we follow ‘self’ or spirit?

If we make too many choices for ‘self’ we find ourselves distanced from God. This is our choice, not His. ‘Self’ is an enemy to God just as satan is, for ‘self’ comes from satan. By agreeing with, feeding and making choices for, ‘self’ we are choosing to be God’s enemy. This saddens God but He will not violate our sovereign will. He accepts our choices. That does not mean there won’t be consequences though. A righteous God cannot dwell with ‘self’. Therefore, when we choose for ‘self’, we voluntarily separate ourselves from His presence.

If, instead, we make decisions for spirit, we will draw closer to Him. He gives us great help and support as we grow in these choices. Over time we will grow in spiritual maturity and may even become His Bride.  We see this grace as real spiritual progress in Song of Songs 6:8-9. The virgin becomes the concubine, the concubine becomes the queen, and the queen becomes the dove; the undefiled, without spot or wrinkle Bride.

Remember God can not, and will not, make our choices for us. Our will is sovereign and He will never violate it. I cannot stress this enough. Once we make our choice, we will experience all the consequences of that choice. If we err, our only recourse is to repent.

Decisions are neither ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they just feed either ‘self’ or spirit. Once a decision is made, it is settled in the spiritual realm. We then experience the consequences; physically, emotionally and spiritually. To correct any decision requires repentance. Repenting means that we turn from our decision; we choose the opposite of what we did.  We need to declare and act on this repentance otherwise it is just remorse.  For real repentance requires action that must flow from a change within.

Be careful! We can repent of choices for ‘self’ and we can repent of choices for spirit.

Repenting of selfish choices is rare as many desire to feed and encourage their ‘self’ nature rather than kill it. Repenting of spirit choices is far more common. Many times on our journey we witnessed people give something of themselves only to repent of the choice later. That we could repent of our spirit choices sobered us to the all importance of the will.

We have studied the will, ‘self’, spirit and the nature of repentance. What do these components have to do with the testing of our faith? Everything. As we walk with Jesus, He will continually give us opportunities to obey Him. These will appear as small choices, but these are all important because they are tests of faith. If we will obey we move on. If we don’t we will have to retry until we get things right. We will not progress until we pass the test of faith; the choice Jesus has placed before us. You may not recognize the lessons God gives. That is ok and normal. It takes time to recognize His handiwork. The important step is to ask Jesus what test of faith He is giving you. When you know, obey. Learn this lesson well. As your faith is tested, it will grow.

Blessings,

Homer and Wanda

9 thoughts on “The Testing of Our Faith

  1. Thanks Homer and Wanda. It’s important to let God’s Word and Spirit guide our decisions. Because like you said, God does give us a free will. When we go astray we should quickly repent. As I was reading this, Hebrews 12:6 NLT came to my mind, “For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

    God doesn’t force us to do anything, instead He will convict us and discipline us to get our attention. Great post!! ❤️😊

    • Very true Dawn. Thank you for this great comment! I know that discipline is unpleasant but at least it means we are His beloved children! Knowing that He loves us enough to correct us is so very precious.

      Blessings,
      Homer Les

  2. I like this post very much and it leads me to another question that I have been struggling with & debating in our small group at church.

    Since God will not violate our free will and it must be our decision to accept the free gift of salvation through Christ,.. can that same person also exercise their free will to reject or renounce their faith, their relationship with Christ?

    I have friends who say “once saved always saved” but our free will doesn’t disappear after salvation so it seems to me that one could renounce their salvation, with catastrophic consequences to be sure…thoughts??? Seeking to know the Truth & Christ better!

    • Homer says:

      This is a great question. Thank you. I must preface my comments by saying I am no doctrinal expert nor do I care to be. I can only speak in humility from what we have seen, experienced and have been taught by our time with Jesus. Anyone reading this is free to disagree. We can only testify to what we know to be true.

      You are right that our free will never goes away. We will always (yes, that means eternity too) have it and God will always respect it. That means then that yes, we can step away from the love of God and separate ourselves from Him. This is what we refer to when we say that one can repent of spirit. This includes salvation.

      We have to look to satan to get a full understanding of this. Satan was not created evil but he chose evil and so the Father had no choice but to ban satan from His presence. It was satan’s choice for ‘self’ that came first. God’s choice to remove satan from His presence was the consequence that came after. God was respecting satan’s free will. Since this happened how can we, as mere mortals, expect a different consequence if we choose to live for ‘self’?

      Unlike satan we start out life with a ‘self’ nature. We are born separated from God. Jesus died for us so that the awful consequence of ‘self’, separation from God, could be conquered. His sacrifice paved the way for us to enter into fellowship with God, that is all. Just because a road is before you doesn’t mean you have to travel it. Just so, even though Jesus has made a way for us we still have to walk in it. This means, practically, that we need to live by faith daily. By doing so He will lead us in steps that will actively stop ‘self’, grow up our spirit and heal us from within.

      Nobody can save themselves. No works can be done that will ever save a man by his own strength, or ‘self’. Without Jesus we have no hope of salvation. But if we are to grow into spiritual maturity so that our ‘self’ nature is not greater than our spirit we would do well to walk in faith with Him, in complete obedience. Remember that curious scripture,”work out your salvation with fear and trembling”? (Philippians 2:12). This is the process Paul was referring to. It does not mean we save ourselves but we work out the salvation Jesus gave us by being obedient in faith.

      One of the key things Jesus taught us was that inside of each person is a ‘self’ nature and a spirit nature. At the end of days Jesus will weigh them both in His final judgement. If our ‘self’ weighs more, that means we want our ‘selves’ more than God. We are actively choosing ‘self’ so why would we want to be with God in Heaven? God respects that choice and lets us live with our ‘self’ for eternity, which is separation from Him. Even in this God always respects the free will of the individual. If we choose spirit that means that we daily surrender our ‘self’ life to God and make choices that lead us to follow Him in complete obedience. This means we want to be with Him and He wants to be with us. Relationship. Fellowship.

      One of the great deceptions ‘self’ throws at us is ‘once saved always saved’. I have heard this many times and feel great pity for those who believe this lie. Pity because they will never know the joy, excitement, peace and love that comes from giving your whole life to Him. Likewise they will never come to a place of respect for the great sacrifice Jesus made for us. They will also never know the joy of living a lawful life. By believing the lie of ‘once saved, always saved’ they give free rein for their ‘self’ nature to run amok with no restraint. When the time comes for them to face the Judge they will not like the consequences.

      Wanda says:

      Remember the scriptures in Malachi, where the Lord lamented over the condition of His temple? The temple was polluted and despised by lame and blind offerings from the priests. Remember also that Leviticus 6:12 says to keep the fire burning. The old testament temple is a visual of our new testament bodies, with fire and light burning because of fresh bread; fresh fire; and fresh oil; etc. 1 Corinthians 6:19…”Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit..etc…..

      Heaven can tell if you are lamp burning christian. These lights are visible on the altar of our hearts. Lamp burning christians are jealous for the cleanliness of their personal temples. This does not mean they are perfect, or do not make mistakes. But when you accept the gift of salvation, then you must grow up from a seed stage….to a palm tree stage believer. This means you are living a life of ongoing repentance. To keep the VERTICAL fellowship with the Lord free from the hindrances of unrepentant sin. “If we confess our sins….etc….He is faithful and just to forgive our sins….etc. We are going to make many mistakes on our way to maturity just like a baby has to grow up. We do not expect 10 year old behavior from a 2 year old…etc…nor do we expect 10 year old behavior from a 20 year old. But the key is to keep moving in the Lord and growing in the Lord. In the earth, if anything living stops growing, then something is terribly wrong. If you look at life, which Lamentations says is a school, you will understand spiritual life. In closing, the Lord’s family is lawful, not lawless like the evil one. To maintain a lawful life before the Lord, (and all sin is lawlessness), this daily fellowship is required. We live in a world of pressure and affliction. The only reason Satan is still around, is to create the winds of pressure and affliction. To overcome these winds, we need to stay in fellowship with the Lord. Not to vex, sadden and offend the Holy Spirit. And if we do fail, repent and keep growing in the Lord with clean fire burning hearts.

      I hope this visual helps. Jesus was the ONLY one who whom the Holy Spirit came, NEVER to depart. We, on the other hand, need to exercise and choose in our free will to keep the Holy Spirit abiding in our personal temples; living the life of ongoing repentance and obedience.

  3. Interesting and deep post. I’ve never thought about the distinction between will, self, and spirit. I might have to read this a couple more times to really comprehend it all, ha!

    • Thank you for the comment. It took us a great deal of time to understand it. Praise the Lord that He has patience with His slow learners. 🙂 I personally don’t think we do it justice but it is our limited understanding now. We do hope it will help you.

      Blessings,

      Homer and Wanda

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