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September 8, 2012

The Tests of Leadership – Part 1

by LDI Global Missions

Job 23:8-10  Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called “dokimos” or “approved.”  That is what New Testament writers meant when they used this word, which is translated in the King James Version as “approved” or “tried” …

  • 2 Corinthians 10:17-18  But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
  • 2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
  • James 1:12  Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

The opposite of “dokimos” was “adokimos” which meant “not standing the test, not approved, unfit for use, unproved.”  It is rendered in the King James Version as “rejected, castaway, reprobate.”

  • 1 Corinthians 9:27  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
  • Titus 1:15-16  Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
  • Hebrews 6:7-8  For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

If you truly desire to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He assigns you, it will be reassuring to understand some of the tests of God that lie before you.  It will be encouraging to know that He uses these tests to build and grow you, not to tear you down. You can take great comfort also in the spiritual fellowship of the many great servants of God in the Bible, and those around you.  For you as a Christian, they are “older brothers,” leaders by example, and the truest “mentors” that you could ever hope to find.

WHY DO WE HAVE TO BE TESTED?  Doesn’t God know if you’re ready to minister?  Of course He does, but you need to know it too.  The very act of testing is itself part of your preparation, and can drive you into a deeper relationship with God like nothing else can.  The Bible clearly teaches that God tests and tries every ministry which He uses in His Kingdom.  By that, we mean …

  • God examines the true inner attitudes and motives of those whom He calls, to show whether they are pure or not; this is not simply to expose weaknesses, but to cause them to turn to the Lord for help and healing.  Through our trials, God removes impurities.
  • God puts those He calls into difficult situations which will refine them spiritually (the Latin word for test, “testu” means “to be put inside of an earthen pot with a lid on top”).  This creates faithfulness, sorts out those who are not truly called by Him, and equips His servants with the spiritual understanding they need to help His church in the future.
  • This testing is why the Bible says “For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).

Every Christian should have a desire to be used by God in some way, but many do not understand the process of preparation for their ministry.  Most people also do not understand that PROVING IS A LIFETIME PROCESS, and that tests will occur throughout our lives. Visualize a timeline with a large “gap” in the middle, that looks like this …

by Raymond Woodward

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