Into a Place of Abundance

By Francis Frangipane

I read recently of a fast, totally electric sports car which is being tested right now in California. The same magazine reported that researchers were testing new drugs and therapies that might cure cancers. A few pages later I also noticed a large software company had released a new "beta" version of its popular product ("beta" means it was still being tested, although it is released on a limited scale).

What do all these various enterprises have in common? Before each product was released to the general public, it had to be repeatedly tested for effectiveness and functionality. Did it do what they projected it to do? Before manufacturers spend a fortune in promotion, they need to know if their product will work outside the lab. So they test it under stressed conditions. Once it passes the tests, then it is released.

A New Creation
God has an idea, a product, in mind for us. He desires to reveal a new species of man, a new creation. At the center of this new man is a Christlike heart. This new man also comes with a heavenly mind and spirit. Even though this new human outwardly looks like the old version of man, yet spiritually its inner mechanisms are entirely different. Yet, the process of releasing the new man to greater authority, require levels of testing. The more tests we pass, the greater God releases us to the general public.

Right now, I would say that most Christians are in the "beta" stage: they are released to a limited group for testing. God desires to see how well what He has created in us works outside of church (the "lab"). These small test groups may consist of co-workers, one's neighborhood or even one's family. But during this time of "limited release" you will go through various tests before being released to the larger, general public.

It is also important to note that when God tests us, He does not descend into our thought-life with a loud public announcement, warning, "This is a test, this is only a test." A true test examines what we are under stress and in real life conditions; it appears in our lives without forewarning that a test is coming. You see, God isn't testing how well we can outwardly look "Christian," He is examining the quality of what we actually are. Even more than possessing right answers, He desires we possess right attitudes and responses. He wants to know if we can function under adverse conditions, spiritual warfare and stress.

Consider Job
Let us underscore this truth about God: He will test the quality of His work in us. Remember the Lord's conversation with Satan? God asked, "Have you considered My servant Job?" The Lord described Job as being unique in all the earth: "a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil" (Job 1:8).

The implication in that question, "have you considered . . . Job," is that God had worked some deep things in his servant and now it was time for this inner transformation to be tested.

Let us also note that Satan had "considered" Job. He had a dossier on him filled with information. When Satan sought to attack Job, the devil couldn't get near him. God had placed "a hedge about [Job] and his house and all that he has, on every side." Probably for many years Satan had examined Job, but couldn't touch him because of the impenetrable protection Job and his family enjoyed. For all the devil tried to do to stop it, God had "blessed the work of [Job's] hands, and his possessions have increased in the land" (vs 10).

Yes, Satan had "considered" Job. We too would do well to consider the story of Job and the revelation it provides us concerning our tests and their outcome.

  • If we walk with God in integrity and intercession, as did Job, we can trust that the normal status of our lives will be completely protected and hedged "on every side."
  • The second thing we should recognize is that, if we do come under severe spiritual attack, it is because God is testing the quality of His work in us. He knows the capacity to overcome is within us, otherwise He would not have allowed the enemy access to us.
  • The third thing to note is that, while tests in the world are usually accomplished in labs or controlled environments, God's tests come in the real world. Thus, we might not realize that what we are going through is a "test," for the test will be a real life experience.
  • The test often comes just before we are released into a "double portion," which is what happened to Job.
  • We probably won't know what the test is about until much later. Job's test was not whether he would "rejoice always" or maintain his good works; nor was he made vulnerable because of fear or unbelief, as some think. The great test in Job's life was whether or not he would curse God. For all he went through, Job passed his test.
The Outcome is Greater Than We can Imagine
God took Job, a righteous man of great influence in his culture, and brought him through a terrible test. One might say the costs of Job's test outweighed his reward, even though Job did receive a double portion. Yes, Job's wealth and influence increased greatly, but that was not the end of the story: God has since used the life of Job as an example for billions of people. Before the test, Job's range of influence touched his culture; afterward, Job's integrity has inspired nations throughout the epochs of time.

Likewise, the Lord tested Joseph, Moses and David; He tested Israel in the wilderness. Jesus Himself endured many tests, not the least of which was His time in the desert.

Let us understand, if we want to advance spiritually, God will lead us through fiery ordeals which test us, yet bring us out to a greater place. Some of us are in "beta,' being tested in limited small groups; others have gone through significant battles recently, but God is about to bring them into a double portion.

For us who are followers of Christ and whose goal is conformity to Him, God gives us one answer to every test we experience: become like Jesus in the test. When the devil realizes what he is using to destroy you is actually being used by God to perfect you, Satan will withdraw his attack.

"For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance" (Psalm 66:10-12).

The test is the door to abundance.