I used to love the movie “Young Guns”. In high school, my friends and I would quote the TV version often. There’s a scene where Billy the Kid (Emilio Esteves) is leading his band of men back to .Lincoln, Nebraska to finish off their enemy, but the odds are against them 100 to 5. Doc Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland) figures it out and turns the team away from Billy with the idea of going to Mexico. Billy said, “You’re all scared, and you’re going to fail the test. You have to test yourself everyday, gentlemen. Once you stop testing yourself, you get slow.”
That scene has stuck with me through the years. What was said in those lines is relevant to us spiritually. You have to test your faith every day. Once you stop testing it, you start coasting. Coasting leads to doing nothing. Doing nothing leads to stagnation. Paul was afraid that we would become stagnant in our faith because it’s human nature to sit back, relax, and take it easy. He warned us against it and told us to test our faith.
Paul wrote II Corinthians 13:5, “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it” (AMPC). How do you do that? Well look at the people of faith in the Bible who tested their faith. David walked onto a battlefield with a giant carrying nothing more than a sling. Peter got out of a boat in a storm to walk on water. Abraham tied his only son to an altar and raised a knife. Each of them were willing to put their faith to the test in impossible situations.
Whatever your battlefield looks like today, don’t be afraid to step out onto it. No matter how loud your storm is, be willing to get out of the boat. Whatever sacrifice God is asking you to make, be willing to climb the mountain without seeing the ram in the thicket. You can’t show the proper fruits of your faith until you do something with your faith. It’s ok to be scared. I’m sure each of those men had some fear, but they pushed passed it and passed the test. What will your story tell about your faith?
One of the many reasons I love the book of Job is that it gives us a behind-the-scenes peek into what goes on in the spiritual realm. In the first chapter, verses 6-12, we read how the angels presented themselves before God. As they were assembling, the accuser, Satan, came to join them. The Lord quickly noticed him and asked him what he’d been doing. Satan replied, “I’ve been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” The Lord then asked, “Have you noticed my servant Job?” Satan said that he had.
Satan started his accusations against Job by saying that he was only faithful because of the blessings God had given him. He wanted God to turn on Job so that Job would turn on God. The Lord knows that Satan tries to put a wedge between God and us. He accuses us of things we’ve been forgiven of, and tells God our faith will fail if bad things happen in our lives. God knows the levels of lies and deceit the enemy will go to try to separate us from His love for us. He also knows the level and strength of your faith.
What I see in this story is how God often has more faith in us than we do in Him or ourselves. He trusts us to hold on to Him when our world seems to be crashing down. He knows that testing proves how deep our faith is, and it also strengthens it. An easy road doesn’t produce a strong Christian. If anyone should have been crushed by their problems it was Job, and his faith endured because of his faith inside.
You are stronger than you think you are. I John 4:4 says, “Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world” (NASB). You are not left to pass the test alone. God is with you every step of the way. He watches over you and limits what the enemy can do to you as His child. Just like Job, if we will keep our faith in the hard times, God will bless us more after them than He had before them. God will not let the enemy push you beyond your ability to trust in Him. He knows your limits and has given you inner strength to overcome by filling you with the Holy Spirit. Don’t give up on God or your test. God believes you will pass. Prove Him right to the one who accuses you.
Here are some other devotions I’ve written on this topic:
“Why Bad Things Happen To Good People”
“Peace In Uncertainty“