Treading a fine line!

9 Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! 10 For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. 11 And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ 12 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’ Luke 4

It can be a bit of a challenge to distinguish between exercising faith and testing God. And quite commonplace to hear some mind-blowing testimonies of people who found themselves in situations where they had to exercise very strong faith in the face of severe adversity and came out victorious. But when does it stop being an act of faith and start becoming a test of our dear God?

When Jesus was tempted by the Devil to test God by proving He was the Son of God, His response was to quote Deuteronomy 6: 16. And the context of this verse was Exodus 17 where the children of Israel complained against God because they had no water. In this case, they had already seen the hand of God in their lives but wanted further proof that God was with them and this constituted testing God.

For many believers, there are times when it seems God is no longer with us and we tend to seek some sort of reassurance that we are still God’s. Jesus found Himself in a similar situation in the above verse as He had previously been called the Son of God but here He was suffering from hunger. This, the Devil tried to play to his advantage by asking “are you really sure you are God’s Son?” The temptation would have been present to reassure Himself that God was still with Him by trying to turn the stone to bread or by throwing Himself off the pinnacle. But He knew His relationship with God was not works related and had nothing to do with Him but everything to do with God. He was the only begotten of the Father and this made Him God’s son and God was extremely proud of Him.

We constantly put the Lord to test with many of our actions without actually knowing it. It is not uncommon to see some Christians refuse medication when they have been diagnosed with some kind of treatable illness because they believe taking medicine is denying the faith. They are simply trying to prove God when it is completely unnecessary. God requires no reassurance from us that He is God.

Others still, take some unnecessary risks in the mistaken belief that God is pleased with such recklessness. A good example is the popular word of faith doctrine of releasing your faith through sacrificial giving or tithing to prove God aka Malachi 3: 8.

It is only an unbeliever who requires proof of the existence of God and God is always upset with believers who try to prove His existence in their lives. Our salvation experience is proof enough of God’s abilities.  And the call to prove God through tithing in Malachi 3 was aimed at unbelieving Jews and it truly begins to border on stupidity giving money in the belief it will attract God’s attention. A child does not need to earn his needs from his father as a good father is always attentive to the needs of his son.

In conclusion, Hebrews 11: 6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God and no mention was made of works or attempts to prove God. And the word translated faith is gotten from the Greek word “Pistis” which means conviction of the truth of anything or conviction that God exists. This is purely a heart thing that does not require any so called acts of faith to bolster it.