Few enjoy taking a test. Few enjoy being put to the test. Many try to defer or avoid the taking of tests. Many adults report waking up rather troubled after dreaming that they were back in school, in a classroom, and the teacher announced, ‘Now it’s time to take the final test.’ Though many seek to avoid times of testing, the truth is, those who excel in life are those who focus not on avoiding the test, but rather on preparing for the times of testing that are sure to come.
It is important to recognize that there are positive aspects to times of testing. In general, times of testing help to bring out the best in us, and they facilitate our being prepared to perform well. For example, the athlete that prepares well for the test or competition, is prone to do well when he/she competes. And in general, the one who does well when the test is given, is the one who will be rewarded after the time of testing is completed. So again, our focus should not be on how to avoid the tests, but rather, how we can best prepare for the times of testing that are to come.
This principle rings true in life—and also applies to our spiritual life. Our spiritual walk with the Lord will include times of testing. This is not a possibility, or a probability—it is a surety. As we serve a good God we must remember that His desire is a good outcome. His testing is designed to prepare us for the future, and to prompt our best effort in the work He has given us to do. Those who do well in these times of testing will know joy and blessing.
Times of spiritual testing will come—the wise will acknowledge this, and prepare accordingly. In this teaching I share, from Matthew 15, how an unlikely person was put to the test, how she responded well in response to the test, and how she and her family were blessed because she did well throughout her time of testing.
There is much we can learn from the story of a Canaanite woman’s encounter with Jesus (Matthew 15). It is my hope that the teaching video embedded below will help individuals better prepare for, and perform well through the times of spiritual testing that are to come.
Notes for the video POSITIONING TO PASS THE TEST:
We need to be in the right place at the right time
- “…Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him…” (Matt. 15:21-22a)
We have to demonstrate respect for the testing process
- “A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Matthew 15:22a)
- “The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said.” (Matthew 15:25)
We need to pursue the right things
- “A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon possessed and suffering terribly’” (Matthew 15:22).
- The woman persevered, even when Jesus did not quickly answer her (Matthew 15:23a).
- The woman persevered, even when his disciples…urged him to send her away (Matthew 15:23b).
- The woman persevered, even when Jesus answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).
- The woman persevered, even when Jesus replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:28).
Leave the details to the lord
- The woman shared her need—not instructions on how to meet the need: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly” (Matthew 14:22b).
Exercise discernment, decorum and discretion
- She discerned where Jesus was
- She discerned who Jesus was
- She approached Jesus with respect
- She knelt before Jesus
- She was not deterred
- She recognized Jesus’ mission (the letter of the Law)
- She understood the spirit of the Law