January 12, 2014

The Day of Testing

When you make the choice to fast, temptations for that bite of pizza or birthday cake will come your way. The same is true of temptation to sin or fold under the weight of calamity. The temptation to take the easy way out in a difficult situation will confront you. If you have not already made up your mind to honor God no matter the consequences, then you will most likely compromise. That is why Ecclesiastes 12 says to, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come.”

There will come a day when your responses to God and the choices you have made will be tested. That day came for Job. Satan came to test him to the core. In one single day Job lost everything that he cared about and loved. His children, his servants, his herds, his properties … all destroyed in the blink of an eye. Hearing that news,

Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. —Job 1:20–22

That amazes me. I cannot imagine how my heart would break if something happened to just one of my children. Job immediately demonstrated the outward signs of mourning in that culture, but the powerful thing was what he demonstrated from the inside: he fell to the ground … and worshiped. In the face of utter calamity and loss, his heart was already prepared to worship God no matter what. Even our brokenness and great pain can be poured out on the feet of Jesus as an offering of worship.

There always comes a day of testing. That is when the value of a made-up mind truly counts. Years before, he had made up his mind. Back when he had his good health, when he was raising his children and watching his blessings increase, back before the testing came—Job made up his mind how he would respond to God. When all was lost and his body was saying, “Give up” … When his circumstances were saying, “Throw in the towel and quit!” … When his neighbors were asking, “Where are all your kids, Job? Where are all your flocks and great wealth?” … When his wife said, “Curse God and die,” … Job had endurance for the trial.

How will you answer temptation when it comes?

The Fasting Edge