As we are getting ready to move into a monumental year in 2018, the Lord has been testing the hearts of His people. He is testing hearts to reveal motives, hidden ambitions, relationships, and, issues that would be a stumbling block down the road. Many want promotion or greater influence without the testing. Promotion will always require a test. Learn to embrace and not fear the test. Allow the Lord to prove you.
In Psalms 139:23 David says, "Search me, O God and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts." The word try in that verse means to put on trial. In this season you may feel like every part of your life has been getting hit and being exposed. It's because just like in a trial every piece of evidence is laid out for all to see and examine. The Lord is doing the same in your life. Sometimes we can pick up things along the way that was good for a season, but in the next season it would be a hindrance. We are also prone to picking up attitudes of the flesh that the Lord needs to root. It's important that we be mindful of the filter we have on our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Guard your heart, because out of it flows the issues of life." Jesus said those who believe in Him would have streams of living water that would flow out of them (John 7:38). I want to ask, what is flowing out of your heart? Is it life giving or contaminated with hurts, offenses, poisoned relationships?
I had a dream recently, where in the dream my hands had gotten a really sticky and flaky substance on them. It was bothering me greatly and I made my way to the bathroom to wash it off. Your hands in a dream can represent your heart, a bathroom in a dream represents a place of cleansing, and the water in this dream representing the word washing my heart. As I woke up from that dream I heard the say, "It's time to wash the residue of this past season off, so you can step into the next season with a clean heart." David prayed in Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me." Let this prayer be a daily practice bringing your heart before the Lord so He clean up and take out what's not of Him. We need to be pure vessels that God can use and pour out of, because our flow has an effect on those we pour out to.
Not only is the Lord testing our hearts in this season, He is sifting them. To sift means to separate and retain the coarse parts of, to examine closely (dictionary.com). God is doing a separating in this season to remove what is not of Him. In Luke 21:31-32 Jesus told Simon, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." When the Lord allows the enemy to sift you its not just for you, but its for the benefit of others in your life. We can be like Simon and believe we won't fail, but we all have our moments. Jesus knew Simon would fail, but He knew that moment in his life would propel him forward to enable him to advance the Kingdom of God.
Know that you are not alone in the sifting. It can feel lonely at times but just like Jesus told Simon he would be praying for him, Jesus is praying for you in the sifting and testing. He believes in you, and knows you will make it through as you lean on him. Even though you may have felt the Lord has been quiet, the teacher is always quiet during the test. But remember Jesus is praying for you and making intercession on your behalf. Embrace what He is doing in this season in your heart, don't run from it. The testing and sifting will lead to promotion in your next season if you allow it.
Prophet Madeline James