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“but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4
So, Lord, if I’m still searching into what it is to believe, at least, what it means to You for me to believe, then where is the word “believe” here? Well, I had to look at the Greek to find it. It’s that word “to be entrusted.” That’s where I find “pisteuo.” And it seems that believing is a trust that You give me. That Your Good News from the beginning of time in Jesus Christ was “allowed of God” to be put in my trust. I was given it not just to believe in my head, but to act upon every part of it.
But what in the world does this “allowed” or “approved” by God part mean? Does this mean that God gave me permission to pass on what I believe? Did he approve of me as a believer? Does this mean I passed the test and won this right or privilege? What does that Greek word “dokimazo” mean?
“Dokimazo” actually mean a lot more than met my eyes when I first read this. I suppose, Lord, that’s why You want us to really dig into Your word like we’re searching for treasure, because sometimes we have to look deeper. We can’t always get all the precious nuggets out unless we take the time to look closer. I’ll find nuggets, but I may miss the mother load.
The word that Paul is using here for how You, Lord, came to entrust me with Your Gospel has to do with testing and discerning. It’s a two tier word. I have to do the testing in order to be able to discern. Or I have to go through the testing in order to discern. It’s the same word that is used in Romans 12:2 where Paul tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” What dokimazo means is “to watch, to determine what is reliable, of value.” I learn Your will by coming under testing. I am to “test the spirits.” I am to test myself. I am to test the times. But what am I testing? What am I trying out? I’m testing Your word, I’m trying it out by acting upon it, and as I do, I find it’s worth and receive discernment. But if I spend my whole life analyzing and evaluating Your word instead of applying it, I won’t ever experience it’s truth in my life.
Simply, because I hear Your word, I try it, I do it. I practice Your practices. I don’t have to understand them or know why but I trust You and do what You say I should and act the ways You say are right and believe what You tell me I need to believe. I avoid what You tell me to. I get into the “culture” of Jesus Christ. I practice what You practice and I practice what the believers in the Bible practiced and I practice what other followers are faithfully doing on the basis of Your word. It gets absorbed in my being. And as I put Your word to the test in my life by acting in it, I will come to know Your will, “the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” And I won’t just know what things are good and acceptable and perfect, but I will come to experience being good in Your eyes, being accepted by You, and being perfected in You.
I can test God’s will and come to know it. That word “dokimazo” again, brings about transformation. Looking at things this way, through Your eyes, Lord, causes me to transform my life patterns and it causes me to renew my mind because it changes the way I think. See, Adam and Eve fell first because they thought about the fruit according to their own eyes and not according to the way You saw it. They thought they could see clearly on their own. But we only see clearly and rightly when we look through Your eyes and see things Your way. I have to see things Your way in order to know Your perfect will.
When I allow You to incorporate “dokimazo” into my life, I can get there. Remember, it means “to test, to discern, to distinguish and to approve as a result of testing.” Do you know where that word came from? It was a word used by metal assayers. You would put the metal under the fire to test it’s purity. Then it would be placed on the scale. What was left was the real metal. The assayer’s job was to prove what was true gold. And I am to be like that. As You have transformed me, I am to determine Your true will. Your process for doing that is guaranteed. It will have the results You intended. You are telling me that I, and every believer, can know Your perfect will. I can pray the way You intend for me to pray. I can live in accord with Your purposes. I can live in Your word and fulfill Your will for me. You’ve designed it to work that way. See, You are the Assayer and I am being apprenticed under You to learn to assay myself and all things placed in front of me. And I must remember, I am learning under the Master Assayer!
Paul reminds me again in Philippians 1:10 that this is “so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.” See, Lord, You are busy in me. And You are teaching me to be busy in me. You are calling me to join in with You to prove my inner value. But our value, according to You, is in the “essential spiritual qualities of a person.” I can see that value through Your eyes if I go back to the Old Testament. If I go back to Jeremiah 11:20 I see what You are doing, Lord. You “judge righteously, that tries the reins and the heart…” You are testing me, each of us in order to make us Your workmanship in Your image. But here You are giving us a responsibility. You are giving me the responsibility to judge and test myself, my quality. How do I do that? I take on Your perspective and I do it as You would do it. I delve deeply within myself to see what I find. I judge it according to Your standards.
How did I ever get this responsibility that used to only be Yours in the Old Testament? Paul gives me the answer in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” Therefore, God resides in me because He resides in His temple. You are God with us, Emmanuel. Since You dwell inside of me, I have the power to see the world through Your eyes and according to Your ways and Your standards. I can see things through Your perspective. Because of You, I can do the testing. My Master Teacher lives inside of me and is always teaching me His perspective. The question is, will I listen and live it out? Will I do it Your way?
When You “approved” me, it wasn’t because You found me worthy. You are making me worthy in You and teaching me to see and value worth Your way. And every time I agree with Your perspective and see things Your way and act upon them, that Good News You’ve entrusted to me shines brighter and is shown to be more and more alive. It’s not easy, learning to examine and test myself like You do, but it’s worth every fire I have to go through. So, Lord, keep teaching me and showing me how to go through the fires of testing and come out like pure gold on the other side. And the other side isn’t heaven. The other side is every time I come out of the fire, after every trial. I want to come out having been transformed to be more like You, to have come out on the pure side, letting my impurities be burned away. Someday, I’ll be on the heaven side, but until then, I want to be always living on Your side of perspective, in the side where I am pleased by what pleases You, where You and I are continually enjoying each other together in life. Thanks for making me able to be entrusted with Your Gospel so that I can be made pleasing to You and You become everything that is pleasing to me.