Testing; June 13, 2018

Luke 4:14-15 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

Times of testing bring spiritual power. Jesus had just come through a 40 day fast and an active encounter with the devil, and it effectively charged Him up for His public ministry. We have no details of what He taught at this point, nor how many people He might have healed. However, the response was very good, and we today would say He was having a very “successful” ministry. However, Jesus wasn’t content with doing things the easy way, so He went to Nazareth to tackle the people He grew up with, and almost got killed. This should teach us several things. First, we are not to be afraid of difficult situations, because getting through them will strip us of things that get in the way, and having to depend on God will open us up to allowing Him to flow through us more. The second thing is not to let success tie us down. God’s plans are always bigger than ours, and we are to move at His command. I am reminded of Philip, who was in the middle of a revival in Samaria and God told him to go to a deserted area. (Acts 8:26) He was obedient, and as a result the Gospel was carried all the way to Ethiopia. We are also not to fear challenges. It would have been easier for Jesus to bypass Nazareth, but instead He went there and proclaimed His commission in front of people who knew Him as the carpenter next door, in the process telling them that they weren’t so special. We too are to be fully obedient to whatever we are told, not giving in to whatever anxieties our circumstances might trigger.

This is as applicable to me as it is to anyone, but I’m not sure exactly what is going on. However, I know that God’s plan is good, and I am to be active in my obedience. We have come through a period of considerable testing, and I can be assured that God wants to use whatever that testing has generated in me. Recently there have been several small indications of encouragement, so I am to be looking forward to whatever God has in store. Recently my teaching schedule has eased up and I’m feeling more rested, for which I’m grateful. There are various things in process, and I’m to apply myself fully to each one. Some of them require courage, and all of them require depending fully on God. I am not to evaluate myself on the basis of what people think of me, but do as Paul did, letting God be my judge and living for Him. (1 Corinthians 4:3-4)

Father, thank You for this Word. You know what I’m facing better than I do, and You know which things are intimidating to me. Help me trust You fully and obey You fully, not skipping over the details because they aren’t fun, but doing everything that You intend on Your schedule, so that Your will may be done for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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