The True Contest: Will We Be Loyal?

Since the beginning, Satan has tempted man to be disloyal to God, his Creator; he has vied for our allegiance. The Old Testament book of Job is an example of this. Satan, who roams to and fro through the whole earth, seeking whom he may devour, was searching for another human being to test—to see if he could cause him to curse God and turn away from him. Satan said that Job followed God only because his life was so blessed. But God had seen into Job's heart. He knew that Job was a devoted follower. So Satan threw every possible temptation and trial Job's way to see if he could make him hate and renounce God. But it was to God's great glory that Job passed the test—he stayed faithful to the Lord his God.

Job's story of testing has become a model for us all on how to walk with God. Job must have experienced, in the end, everlasting joy in knowing that he had passed the test, that he'd seized the opportunity to show God's faithfulness, and that he'd come through with a story for all eternity of his faithfulness to God.

This is the true contest that has taken place since the beginning of time. Those who remain loyal to God and obey his will have a place in history where their story of faithfulness will be told throughout all generations. These tests are our opportunities to exhibit to God and to the world the integrity of our faith in him and our commitment to do his will, just like all of those in the Hebrews hall of fame (Hebrews 11). Our tests present each of us with the prospect to be found on God's side, to be counted among those who do not shrink back but stand firm in faith and character.

Great joy comes in the freedom of having passed through difficult seasons and having seen his faithfulness along the way. I feel that I am more the person I want to be because of the many tests of my life. God has shared with me his wisdom along the way. He has shown me that with him I am stronger and more capable of accomplishing more things in life than I ever would have imagined.

Because of these truths, I can now greet other tests with more peace and grace, knowing that they can compel me to look more longingly toward heaven and can give me a deeper love and appreciation for my Father and his unconditional love to me, his child. Even though I don't desire trials, I can enter into them in anticipation of how they can become my greatest accomplishments.

Joy, then, comes in embracing the opportunity to be a part of his world of righteousness and preparing to live with him in that kingdom for eternity. Joy comes in following where he leads me, choosing to believe that his way is good and that he works according to his will. I quench this joy when I resist him and fight against the dance he is trying to teach me. I experience the grace of the dance when I follow his direction and his lead, even when it seems to be the opposite of what I might have done.

To grow in this joy, I have to move where he leads. When dancers attempt to turn in different directions, there is no beauty, no synchronizing of movement. But when they learn to read each other's movements and move as one body, there is a beauty, a grace, and a skill of step that grants the joy of unity and elegance to the dance.

James told us to "Consider it all joy...when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance" (James 1:2-3). List the trials that you are experiencing right now.

How does God want you to pass the test of these particular trials?

What attitude do you need to change or cultivate?

Read more here: Dancing With My Father

Be sure to buy your copy of Different and join us as we discuss the chapters in the coming weeks on our podcast.