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Life with the Holy Spirit


God Tests the Heart

God may not tempt, but He does test.

The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him (Deuteronomy 13:3–4).

God has a purpose for testing; He desires for you to see your commitment level to Him so you can show how much you love Him. Deuteronomy 8:2 states,

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

Psalm 44:20–21 asks, “If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?” God already knows your heart and where you stand with Him, but His desire is for you to learn where your heart stands. (For more on our all-knowing God, read Psalm 139.)

King Saul’s heart was not right before the Lord. God rejected him for his disobedience and eventually replaced him as king. Listen carefully to how God guided Samuel in anointing the next king of Israel, David; God instructed Samuel not to consider David’s brother Eliab as Saul’s successor.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

God is more interested in your heart and your willingness to follow and obey Him. You don’t have the ability to hide from the Lord, for He “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21). And the name of Jesus will force you to reveal where your heart is.

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:33–35).

Your life, actions, and words will reflect what you believe about Jesus Christ. His name separates those who follow Him from those who don’t.

In Psalm 66:10, the psalmist acknowledged, “For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” If God is refining you, He wants you to be purified. Testing allows you to demonstrate your love for God, and it allows God to refine you into the person He wants you to become. James 1:2–4 encourages us that during this testing, we should

consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

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Category: Spirit, Summer 2016

About the Author: Dean Schendel is a math teacher and former coach at Rice Consolidated High School in Altair, Texas. He has the privilege of being a part of the ministries of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and AWANA. He is the author of Oneness: A Call to Honor God in the Marriage Relationship (Westbow, 2015). Facebook Twitter: @DeanSchendel.

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