Testing! Testing!

Testing, Testing

My father was a genius who never graduated High School but taught himself to repair anything electronic. Whenever he tested microphones or recording equipment he’d shout into the microphone “Testing! One, Two, Three, Four!” to see if it worked as designed.

The Bible says a lot about testing. And there are several varieties. But we will only look at one today. That one in The LORD’s Prayer/The Our Father, the model JESUS uses to teach us to pray, is the most important…and most terrifying. It is terrifying because it suggests that even GOD is about to give up on us. JESUS says that we should pray for GOD to never give us over to the devil to allow him to test us. This is the first type of testing, Temptation.

Temptation is the kind of testing JESUS went through for us when Satan tried to get Him to use His authority as GOD the Son for Himself. The moment JESUS did anything for Himself would have been the disqualifier of being our Savior/Rescuer. His death would not apply to us and there was no reason to die for Himself because He was sinless. The only way to keep you from Hell would have been gone.

JESUS says to pray we never come into temptation because it is a sign that we are trying to take His place as Rescuer and Judge. We are saying that we can make it without Him.

The interesting thing is that JESUS inserts this request not to be tempted in the middle of a request and explanation about forgiveness.

JESUS teaches us to pray for forgiveness for our “debts”, our “trespasses”, what we owe GOD and humanity as a child of GOD. There will always be a lack in our humanity between what we should be and know and do and who we are, know and do. JESUS Himself fills that gap by overcoming the devil and temptation. He fills the gap with His Blood from the Cross. He fills our heart with His Spirit…IF we are His. IF we have accepted what He has done as enough.

But then He suddenly veers off from this request about forgiveness. He says forgive us BECAUSE and TO THE DEGREE we have forgiven others then goes into not being TEMPTED by the Evil One. Then like a car careening from one side to the other He’s back on forgiving again.

Forgiveness of others is the key. When we realize JESUS has died to forgive us of everything that keeps us from GOD, we will forgive others. Our debts (what we owe GOD) is paid by JESUS. If we genuinely have been changed by His Spirit we will forgive what others “owe” us (in respect, in money, in love, in anything).

If we belong to Christ GOD forgives us what we owe Him because His Blood fills the gaps. But if we do not forgive others of what we perceive we “lack” from them it is a sign we are putting ourselves in the place of GOD.

This is why JESUS will later tell a story about a servant who owed millions to his boss for robbing him being forgiven but then demanding a debt of $100 from someone else. Not realizing the enormity of the Grace given to him by giving Grace to others condemned him.

When we do not show the natural by-product, the “fruit” of the Spirit of Love given to those by GOD when they fully give themselves to Christ, we put ourselves in Christ’s place of Judge. GOD will allow the Enemy of our Souls, Satan, to tempt us to make ourselves (and ultimately self-centered Satan) king instead of Christ.

Christians face temptation in and from the world. But the Spirit of Christ in them is stronger and will resist, like the air in a basketball keeping it inflated in spite of the pressures around it.

If we begin to “deflate” it is a sign we may not have Christ’s Spirit in us. We haven’t trusted Christ to be our Payment so forgive others for what they “owe.” And He will allow the devil to pressure us until and unless we come to JESUS for filling. Like the electronics my father tested, GOD is calling, “Testing! Testing!” to see if we are functioning as we should.

People sometimes think there is good on one side and evil on the other. But that is not true. GOD repeatedly says throughout the Bible that He is in control of evil as well as good. He uses evil to tempt those who do not live like their lives are paid for by the Savior, GOD the Son, JESUS, Who overcame evil. And JESUS teaches us to pray that our lives are never so lacking in grace and love to others that He uses the Evil One to tempt us because we don’t seem like Christ’s sheep but Satan’s goats.

Matthew 6:12-15, ESV

“and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:12-15‬, ESV