This Is a Test. Will You Pass?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:2a

Although this post is for my American brothers and sisters in Christ, if you are not American, it will someday apply to the situation in your country. Perhaps it already does.

If you are not a Christ-follower, let me explain the term by means of this crash course:

According to the Bible, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) That’s just another way of saying, “Nobody’s perfect,” which I think we can all agree on.

Here’s the problem: The Bible also says, “The wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23a) Wages are what we have earned. And what we have earned by living life our own way is eternal death – spending eternity apart from God, Who is holy and perfect. It makes logical sense. After all, if anyone imperfect entered a perfect heaven, heaven wouldn’t be perfect any more, would it?

So … now what?

The good news that comes after this bad news is in the second half of the verse: “… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:23b) While “wages” are what we’ve earned, a “gift” is given freely, and, thank God, we didn’t have to earn eternal life, or it would never be ours. The sacrifice that paid the price for our sins took place when the perfect Son of God (Jesus) willingly allowed Himself to die on a cross in our place.

But for something to be a gift, it must be received. To be cleansed from our sins, we need to repent (be willing to turn around and go another way), believe that Jesus’s death paid our ransom, and that He has opened up the way for us to live the lives we were created to live, with His help. For a more detailed version of this plan of salvation, these earlier posts might help:

Those of us whose lives have been transformed by Christ have been adopted into another family, another kingdom. Paul wrote, “But our citizenship is in heaven.” (Philippians 3:20a) Unfortunately a lot of us, especially in America, seem to be forgetting about our “dual citizenship.” At least we seem to be behaving as if this world is all there is.

Here’s a little pop quiz to see how you’re doing in this time of testing:

1.) Is your hope in the Lord or in a politician?

2.) Is your ultimate focus on your problems or the problem Solver?

3.) Can you rejoice in the Lord, no matter who wins the election?

4.) Are you pleasant and kind to people who disagree with you?

5.) When people are nasty towards you, do you treat them well anyway?

6.) Are you more interested in winning people to your God, or to your party?

7.) Do you have compassion on people going through suffering, even when you believe they brought it on themselves?

8.) Do you pray for your enemies?

9.) Can you walk away from an argument without wanting the last word?

10.) Do you let your behavior and attitude preach the gospel along with your words?

In these days of uncertainty, it seems everyone around us is stressing out. People are anxious about the outcome of the election. People are suspicious, as evidence of vote tampering are popping up everywhere. (Yes, people are cheaters – does that come as a surprise to any of us???) People are fearful about what will happen to our country if the “wrong” sinner is elected to office. People are angry with the “other side” for real or perceived wrongs. People are terrified of the violence that may break out – and oh by the way, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Rage, fear, and despair are the norm for “everybody.”

But, brothers and sisters, we are NOT called to be like “everybody!” We are called to be lights in the darkness. Peter wrote,

“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (I Peter 2:9)

Sure, it’s getting darker all the time, but the darker the sky gets, the brighter and more visible the stars shine! Paul wrote,

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.” (Philippians 2:14-16a) [emphasis mine]

Have you caught the vision yet? These dark times are not a time to get sucked into the world’s mindset! If we are behaving with the same attitudes as everyone else, who is going to be interested in what we have to offer in the way of God’s Truth? Everyone has their own “truth,” and unless there’s something different about us, ours will seem like just one more opinion.

BUT, if we show ourselves to be different from the world, because we are citizens of another world – NOW we will stand out, and those who are seeking something better will be drawn to us.

This is a golden opportunity, friends. Let’s not blow it! This is a test. Are we passing?

Prayer: Lord, You have called us to be citizens of another world, one so much better than the one we’re seeing now. Help us not to get sucked into the darkness, but to shine Your light more brightly than ever. May we show the difference You make in our lives, in the name of Jesus, who called us out of darkness into Your wonderful light. Amen.

39 thoughts on “This Is a Test. Will You Pass?

  1. Excellent post Ann, I think I will take the liberty of reposting it (full credit goes to you). I actually started a post today along the same lines but ended up trashing it because it just didn’t come together in the manner that I thought it should, but yours says what I wanted to say, only better than I could. I have deliberately stopped myself from commenting on some of what you mentioned as of late, specifically because that is exactly what everyone else is doing and if we as Christians are indeed to be different, then what we do or don’t do, does have to be different from the norm. And if we are not different from the norm, then why aren’t we? If we truly believe that God is on His throne, then we should act like it and not get so swept up into what is transpiring here, especially when we can see how easily our emotions can be drawn into sliding towards our fleshly way of thinking. So, thank you, I feel better already. Blessings Ann, sincerely appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve been severely persecuted for the last 12 years by people who identify as Christians even though I am a believer. It has been painful but has benefitted me as discipline from the Lord even though they were wrong. So many nonChristians look at me and say “Why do you still believe in God after His people have done this – lied, stolen, abused, made you and your special needs children homeless?” I know that many people are expecting persecution from nonChristians to increase. If God allows this it’s important to acknowledge that Christians are not innocent victims with God being on their side. People who identify as Christians are in major need of repentance for those they have oppressed when they had power and the upper hand. They have all out pursued wealth and the survival of the fittest which is 100% nonChristian. They have done the absolute minimum for autism and frequently shut autistic people out because of their strange behaviour aborting them out of the womb of the church. God will not let these things go as if He has a favourite child whom He allows to bully others. God will work it all out for everyone’s good in the end. We need to accept hardship/persecution as discipline as the Bible says and not with smug self righteousness. If He lets “the Assyrians” conquer He has his reasons.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, Melanie. Bless you for your perseverance in the faith.
      I strongly believe that not everyone who calls himself/herself a Christian truly is one, although many may have fooled even themselves – especially in America, where it has been way too easy to identify as a believer and not see persecution. But this is going to change, and one of the advantages of persecution is that the fake, shallow, or uncommitted “Christians” will fall away like rats off a sinking ship, and only the true believers will stick it out – and they’d better be ready to live out what they say they believe.
      Matthew 25:41-46 is especially chilling. I’ve heard “the least of these” put another way: “You only love Jesus as much as the person you love the least.” Pretty sobering.

      P.S. I think you would appreciate a book written by my friend Kim Bowman, entitled “Undercover Bag Lady.” It’s just what the title implies – Kim visited churches of various denominations, dressed as a homeless woman and documented her experiences with each one. For the most part, it was VERY disappointing, and quite a wake-up call to the Church in America.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks Anne. That book sounds incredible. I will check it out. For me it was so disappointing because people loved me but rejected my children. I just don’t wished to be loved when others are rejected. It would just also blow my mind that Christian doctors or teachers would stay silent and even participate in wrong ungodly practices to keep their jobs. Saying they had no choice. But if they would have together said “we won’t do this because it hurts a minority” they would have been doing kingdom counter culture work. It’s too bad that persecution will come because of ungodliness instead of righteousness. God doesn’t need our money from our corrupt jobs. He needs our integrity.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Annie, I’m from the u.k., but I feel that this post is relevant to me also . . . and I didn’t do so well in the test. I need to re-read your be-attitude posts. Although I already knew of my failings, I’ve kind of shoved them somewhere into the recesses of my mind . . . so, taking this test has made me sit up and take notice.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha-ha, me too! I sometimes research something to prove a point and it comes back on me! I don’t mind how the Lord chooses to teach me – as long as He does. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, and a resounding amen!! You captured so well my heart on the matter. Thank you for keeping our focus where- and on Who-it ought to be. Oh, and I have a “faith over fear” mask, too, and wear it for the same reason! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Remembering who we are as God’s people is very important. And let us not forget that God calls His people to fight for justice even among chaos we are to be involved in the fight. Its who Americans are and it is what created this country. Men realizing that their faith called them to bring freedom to ALL people and defend that freedom no matter who the man or woman was. How that looks will never be the same. Sometimes it took wars, revivals and it took voices speaking out waking those asleep up to truth. Because we are the ones where all hope can be found and may we never forget that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen! I am all for following God’s lead and doing what He has called us to do. This “test” is more about attitudes and motives, and Whom we are trusting as we fight the good fight. I am seeing too many professed Christ-followers behaving in ways that are just as immature and hateful as the world – this should not be! We should be entering into the fight only after much prayer, committing ourselves to our Commanding Officer and following His orders. Otherwise we will see people as “the enemy” and get blinded by the lies, accusations, and threats that come from the only REAL enemy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I agree! I have seen the same things. Christians attacking they’re own brethren for speaking their own thoughts on what’s going on in nasty ways. It’s foul and just playing in the hands of Satan himself. There are Christians attacking Christians like me just because I say stand up. But HOW we stand up matters as well and why.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not sure how I missed reading this during the election but it sure would’ve helped me! I was doom-scrolling the news every day and so filled with anxiety. All the while I should’ve been digging in the Word of Truth to find answers. Nevertheless, I’m glad to run across it today because it applies to me now in other ways. I always want my star to shine and when I’m sucked into social media and other useless idols, I become like them: dead and cold. Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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