The Spiritual Stress Test

(James 1Psalms 5)

Every summer I go to the doctor's office for an annual exam. I sit in his office and he asks me, "Tony, how are you feeling?"

Assuming that it was a good year overall, I answer, "I'm feeling fine."

But that's not the end of my appointment. The doctor doesn't take my word for it. Instead, he attaches electronic probes all over my body. Then he sticks me on a treadmill. Next, he makes the treadmill go faster and faster up an incline because what he wants to know is the real condition of my heart.

My heart might feel fine to me but at the same time, it might not be fine. The doctor can only determine the strength of my heart when he measures it under stress. So what he does is create a stressful situation where I'm walking for a long period of time. He's testing my heart to see whether how I feel is how I really am. Because it's possible to have good feelings yet still have a bad heart.

Living the Christian life is no different. It's possible to come to church every week, sing worship songs, memorize Bible verses, serve on a variety of committees and assume that your heart, faith and soul is strong. It's even easy to say things like, "I love you God. God, you are so good. I'll follow you, God. I'll do whatever you say."

But God doesn't want to just take your word for it.

He tests you, and me, because He wants what is best for us. He tests us because He is getting ready to do something amazing in our lives. The way that He tests us is by putting us in a stressful scenario … something we often call a trial. In a trial, God reveals how strong our faith really is.

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