The Lord Trieth the Hearts Prov 17:3 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
No matter what it is or who it is that you love, until your love has been tried, there is no way to tell for sure whether your love will stand up to the test. That’s why the Lord trieth the hearts. He is going to check you out and see whether your affection is fickle or real. Are you a fair weather friend or are you going to love at all times and under all circumstances? The Lord tries your love:
For him – Jn 14:15 – the Lord is going to give you something to do that you do not want to do just to see if you love him. He told that rich young ruler to give his money to the poor and to follow him. Jesus promised him that he would have eternal life and treasure in heaven. The fellow wouldn’t do it because he trusted his riches. Ultimately the problem was that he did not love God [the first commandment]. In Lk 14:26, Jesus told his disciples that they could not be his disciples if they did not hate their fathers, mothers, wives, children, brethren, sisters, and their own lives. That’s remarkable until you consider that to love Jesus fully you might have to hate a close relative. What a test. You say you love him, but until that love has really been tested you won’t know for sure.
For his words – Jn 14:23-24; Ps 119:97, 113, etc. – your love for the Lord is so inseparably connected with your love for his words that if you truly love one you will love the other and if you do not love one you do not love the other though you may say that you do [Jn 14:21]. Your love for his words will be tried by offences [Ps 119:165, Mk 4:16-17]. Job went through a battle that none of us could survive and yet in the middle of it he said, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” And surely when the Lord began to speak, Job listened, humbled himself and repented at the reproofs. He passed the test. Most certainly he loved God’s words. And you? Well, you won’t even read them. Don’t tell us about how much you love the Lord when you won’t even bother to read his words. Your love for the Lord and his words are weak under the trial of your faith.
For your spouse – Eph 5:25;Titus 2:4 – people often marry out of lust, physical attraction, and enjoyable conversation. But if you have been married for any length of time you know that if your love does not grow beyond these things, it will not stand the test of time, much less more severe trials. Be sure that your love will be tested. So, why not put it to the test before you marry. William Langley’s mother told him not to marry the woman that he loved but rather to marry the woman that “proved” she loved him. Let the Lord try your love to see of what it’s made. Be patient and prayerful because to love a spouse the way that Christ loves the church is to give yourself. You are not in marriage for what you can get but for what you can give. That’s where the love of the Lord Jesus Christ excels all other.
For your friends – Prov 17:17 – I have had many friends in my life but over time the ones who are still friends are the ones who have stood up to the test of friendship. Long-standing friendships are going to go through trials. Trials that involve the choice to stay with your friend when others demand that you separate, to stand with your friend when others desert him for a fault, to remain loyal to your friend though it costs you personally, or to help him when he is helpless. Be careful whom you call friend because your friendship may be tired beyond the extent of your imagination. And to be a true friend you will need to stand the test. Jesus surely stood the test with us.
For his people – 1 Jn 4:20-21 – God’s people may be a ratty bunch from time to time, but God loves them and so should we. If we really love the Lord, we will love his people. One pastor said, “In the ministry I have learned to be careful with other men’s souls.” His love for God’s people had been tested. Another pastor said, “I became more compassionate in my preaching after I saw sheep leaving my church bloodied and beaten and I realized that I was the one that had hurt them.” Many of God’s children are being exploited today while they are being told that they are loved by the very ones who are exploiting them. Don’t be fooled. I have seen churches ripped to shreds by those who say, “I love you” with as much sincerity as those who say, “God bless you” after you sneeze. Your love for the brethren is going to be tried and if you really love God you will love your brother also, through thick and thin.
Conclusion: Satan’s most crippling attacks on churches are leveled at these five areas. And the Lord allows him to “try” you just like he allowed the devil to “try” Job. Resolve that your love will grow through the test and come out stronger. Don’t cave in. Don’t think that you love one of these just because you hear yourself saying, “I love you.” Prove it.