But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
— 1 Thessalonians 2:4
Have you ever wondered, God, how long am I going to have to wait for that promotion I deserve? Is there a reason that the promotion I want keeps getting delayed? What is happening in my life, Lord?
We always seem concerned about making things happen faster, but God doesn’t work in the same time frame we do. There are some things that are more important to God than giving us a promotion when we want it or making sure we get a pay raise when we think we deserve it.
Now, God does reward us for our faithfulness, but sometimes He takes a little longer than we might like to promote us in order to make sure we’re really ready for that next big assignment. It’s hard on the flesh while we wait, yet it is actually the mercy of God at work. You see, during that time of waiting, the imperfections that would have ruined us are exposed so God can remove them. Then He can move us up into the new position with no concern that a hidden flaw will cause us to fall flat on our faces.
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We know from Acts 9:20-25 that when Paul first became a Christian, he tried to barge right into a public ministry. But he wasn’t ready for that yet and therefore created some problems and a lack of peace in the Early Church. Although saved and called, he simply wasn’t ready to be promoted into such a visible position of leadership. It was going to take some time for God to prepare Paul for the kind of ministry and anointing he was going to carry in his life.
Paul referred to this process when he wrote to the Thessalonians. He said, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). This verse is packed full of insight regarding Paul’s own experience of being prepared, tested, and finally promoted into his own public ministry.
Notice first that Paul says, “But as we were allowed of God.…” The word “allowed” is the Greek word dokimadzo, a word that means to test; to examine; to inspect; to scrutinize; to determine the quality or sincerity of a thing. Because the object scrutinized has passed the test, it can now be viewed as genuine and sincere.
This word dokimadzo was also used to illustrate the test used to determine real and counterfeit coinage. After a scrutinizing test was performed, the bona fide coinage would stand up to the test and the counterfeit would fail. The strictness conveyed by the word dokimadzo is evident by an early use of this word to picture the refining of metal by fire to remove its impurities. First, the metal was placed in a fire that burned at a certain degree of heat; then it was placed in a fire burning at an even higher degree; and finally, it was placed in a blazing fire that burned at the highest degree of all. Three such tests were needed in order to remove from the metal all the unseen impurities that were hidden from the naked eye.
From the viewpoint of the naked eye, the metal probably looked strong and ready to be used even prior to those tests. But unseen defects were resident in the metal that would have shown up later as a break, a fracture, or some kind of malfunction. Before a person could be assured that the metal was free of defects and thus ready to be used, these three purifying tests at three different degrees of blazing hot fire were required. The fire was hot and the process was lengthy, but the tests were necessary in order to achieve the desired result.
Because Paul uses the word dokimadzo, he testifies to us:
“It was a lengthy process and I went through a lot of refining fires to get to this place, but finally I passed the test and God saw that I was genuinely ready.…”
So don’t be discouraged if it takes time for your dream to become a reality in your life! God never gets in a hurry, because godly character is more important to Him than gifts, talents, or temporary success in the eyes of other people. He wants to use you, but He also wants you to be ready to be used!
Right now you may need some time to prepare, change, and grow. That way when God finally promotes you, you’ll have what you need both naturally and spiritually to STAY established in that God-ordained position as you fulfill your assignment with excellence.
My Prayer for Today
Lord, thank You for considering my character so carefully. I know that You want to change me and conform me into the image of Jesus more than anything else. I often feel rushed to get things moving, but I know that You are looking to see if I have the character I need so I can successfully do what You’ve called me to do. I yield my heart to You and ask You to do Your work inside me. Change me so You can use me as You wish!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I declare by faith that I am being changed so God can use me to the degree He desires! Yes, I have areas in my life that need to be transformed, but because I renew my mind with the Word of God and spend time in prayer, God is free to work on me and get me ready for the big job He has designed for my life. I know that as I stay open and willing to change, my character WILL be transformed into the image of Jesus so I can complete my task successfully and to the glory of God!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Do you think you’re ready for a big new promotion?
2. If it seems like your promotion has gotten delayed again and again, do you have any idea why this might be happening?
3. Are there any areas of weakness in your life that could hinder you once you step into a more visible and demanding role? What are those areas you need to work on?