Monday, December 14, 2015

The Two Great Tests of Mankind

In the last year we have been struck by the horror of Isis killing people mercilessly.  In particular Christian brothers and sisters.  The image of those men being decapitated by the sea is hard to shake.

Yet as they died some cried out to Jesus.  They knew how to die.

In the USA there was recently a shooting by Isis sympathizers in California.  Some who died, did so nobly.  Protecting others.  They knew how to live and die.

Yet at the same time there are people of privilege and power who stand in complaint and confusion who do NOT know how to live. They are pitiful.  When life hands them a lemon they protest against the provider.  They do no understand failure. They think equal outcomes is what is promised and if they don't get it they murmur with bitterness as a victim.

There are two great tests every man and woman must pass.  It is doubly so for the Children of God.

One is the Failure Test.  Do we know how to fail?  What do we do when life hands us a rock  or a scorpion?  Sometimes it's not satan.  Sometimes it's just stupidity on our part.  What do we do when it happens?

Do we know HOW TO fail?  There is a book recently by Fran Tarkington, former  quarterback, on exactly that question.  It is called "The Power of Failure".  How do you lose?  How do you fail?  All books about prosperity and success should have equal numbers of chapters on how to fail well and start again.  How to play till you win.

The other test is the Success Test.  It is just as difficult. Just as painful.  As dangerous as the failure test.  Many people when success comes don't know HOW TO succeed.  They don't handle it well.  They become full of themselves.  It goes to their head.  We all know what that looks like. Those who can't handle fame and fortune are nearly the thing of legend.  The athlete who makes millions during his carer and yet is bankrupt ten years later.  The lottery winners who are as impoverished as the lowest in a decade.  Success is equally daunting.  Many people will say, I can handle it, just give me my shot. Yet even at a moderate level they fail at success.  They fail the test.

There is a KNOWING HOW TO handle success or failure.  The apostle Paul in Philippians 4 writes of this:

I do not speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The Lord has shown me more than once certain people for whom great wealth was stored up, yet it has been withheld by the love and mercy of God.  That wealth would have destroyed them.  It would have deceived them into thinking it was themselves and not God.  God warned Israel against this foolishness in Deuteronomy 8.  Read it. He loved them too much not to warn them.  It would have made them poor and bitter.  So He provides just enough.. and no more until they are ready to posses it and know HOW TO succeed. Even then he just provides little by little.  Deuteronomy 7:22 tells us why:

The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.

Poverty is no sign of God's curse nor is prosperity a sign of God's blessing. We are given grace sufficient for the day.  That is how we abase and abound no matter our circumstance doing all things thru Christ's strength. Many are living under what HE want's to do.. but we aren't ready.

I don't have a direct word from God today.. I just know that when I heard this yesterday my heart leapt.  I knew I had to share that knowing HOW TO.. is the key to our breakthrough. 


Anonymous said...

Good post, Gene. People of faith in Jesus are taught by His SPirit and Word how to react to success ANd tofailure. i have had about 90 years of it, and God is stlll teaching me. .....Harold

Anonymous said...

Good post, Gene. I am still learning, even after nearly 90 years. Successes (God's doing) and failures (mine). .......... Harold

Kathy said...

I agree with you Gene, I have been at great failure, but when I finally turned to God it became clear the test I had to learn from. I now have learned and little by little God has let be prosper and I will always Thank him for that lesson and those yet still to come. May we never stop learning whether it be a failure or a success!