Sometimes, after you have been a Christian for a while, you have so much of your life, relationships and self invested in “God” that the thought of Him not coming through for you and therefore having proof He is not real is terrifying. To find out that what you have based your life on is a lie is too embarrassing a thought to deal with. So, we hedge our bets. We pray, “God, you said that if I put you first, as Lord and Savior, you would provide for me and my family. But if you don’t, I will still love you and trust you and feel the same way about you”. This may sound good, but I suggest that this kind of faith is not honored in the Bible. What is most important to God is our intimacy with Him, our trust in Him, our faith in Him. And God says in the Bible that this faith is more precious than gold. It is so important to God that He will rock our world until we come to the point of saying, “God, I have put You first. You said that if I did, you would supply food, clothing and shelter for me and my family. You have to come through for me. I have no plan “B”. You promised you would and I am holding You to it. If you don’t, then I have no reason to trust You anymore.”
God doesn’t say not to put Him to the test. God says not to put Him to a foolish test. Satan suggested to Jesus that He jump off the top of the temple because God promised to send His angels to hold Him up. Jesus answered that it is written, do not put God to a foolish test. If God says He will do something for you when you obey Him, He wants you to test that. Obey Him and then hold Him accountable for what He promised. That’s not a foolish test. That’s faith.
And here’s my disclaimer: Though I have had success in trusting God, I have also experienced complete hypocritical failure at trusting God. I am not an expert. For every time I have trusted God and seen Him keep His promises, I have not trusted Him multiple times (with disastrous results). A turning point in my life came when I trusted God and obeyed His teaching by refusing to participant in the production of certain advertising promoting what I felt was pornography, abortion, or the occult. I risked my family’s main means of support because of this apparent insubordination. Many true friends prayed for us. God gave me the chance to talk about His heart of love and concern for people to top levels of management. God softened the heart of the main decision maker who eventually said I could go back to work without having to touch these ads. (True to God’s style, five years later He had this same company ask me to write large religion section advertising telling people about the love and acceptance of Jesus. This series of ads ran for fourteen years).
You’d think I would have “lived happily ever after”. However, less than two weeks after being cleared to not do these ads, I caved in to the gripping fear of losing my livelihood. I moved an objectionable ad from its wrong position on the page to the right position, an ad I previously said I would not touch even to the point of losing my job. I did it because I was afraid people would think of me as a self-righteous hypocritical trouble maker and reject me if I caused them problems (this was satan lying to me, because I worked with some great people). There after whenever I was presented with an objectionable ad I always struggled with whether Jesus would protect my job or not if I refused to do the ad. It was never told to anyone I worked with that I didn’t have to do these ads and I feared others’ resentment for having to do them for me. There are too many other examples of my failure in trusting God and too embarrassing as well.
It can be hard, very hard, to decide to obey God. But when I obey Him, He always makes it worth it. And when I don’t, I always eventually regret it, wishing I had obeyed Him.