“I the Lord test the mind
and search the heart,
to give to all according to their ways,
according to the fruit of their doings.”
~Jeremiah 17:10 (NRSV)
The way of the Lord is relational—there are no ifs or buts about it.
The judgments of God, as they are personally felt, occur through the ministries of the Holy Spirit as they act on our hearts and minds. For a believer to refuse this testing and searching attribute of the Spirit of God is the negation of belief, because belief in the Christian God is reliant upon relationship.
Our relationships with God hinge on our preparedness to receive this testing and searching to the accord of truth—despite our more comfortable stance.
We cannot abide with the living and holy God in wilful flouting of divine introspection. We cannot gain the blessing of God if we are not prepared to do the work required of us of God. We are to submit ourselves to testing and searching by the Holy Spirit. No one can help us here, but ourselves.
By our testing and searching we are hence approved. To the degree that we are approved we are given blessings in apportionment—according to the fruit of our doings.
Real fruit is contingent, wholly and solely, on our submission before God for testing and searching. Our service for God, our ministry, is secondary. We are commended more for our submission before God—in God’s eyes—than we are for the power, effectiveness, and expanse of our ministry.
When The Spirit Speaks – Who Listens?
As the Spirit of God tests our minds and searches our hearts, and we agree by what is communicated to us through our minds and hearts at truth, we receive blessings according to that which we feel are appropriate. These are different blessings to tangible, material blessings.
What must be congruent is the acuity of our momentary rapport with the Spirit. If our honestly-appraised consciences approve us as obedient, including provision for a suitable repentance as it applies, and it generally does, we feel at peace with God.
Feeling at peace with God is the crucial condition of favour; the holy extension of grace as it can be felt in and through us.
When the Spirit speaks, and we may be continually able to listen, we learn by subjugation to God alone. Understanding the perfect will of God is our goal and aim. We will fall short of it, but that isn’t the point. We remain in relationship, and, by that, we may always be redeemed through our repentance.
The Lord tests and searches us, because God is relational. God is far more interested in us relating with him honestly than he is impressed by our works, or our biblical knowledge, or our ministries. There is just one way to life: to live honest and open before God.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.