I’ve never met a bear robbed of her cubs, but I am sure it is not on my bucket list! Verse 12 is another verse that is so vivid and descriptive. Meeting an enraged bear is better than dealing with a fool and his folly. The first question I have is what is a fool and what does his folly look like? Proverbs continues to unfold those qualities. We will too one Sunday morning in the near future!

Verse 3 is one of my favorite proverbs, “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts.”

How does the Lord test my heart?

When other churches in our area are growing and adding services. God challenges me to keep my eyes and heart on what He has called us to here at CCC. Not on what He is doing in other churches in our area. Their success is what God is doing there. What God is doing at CCC is what he has called me to. I can hear Him say at times, “What is that to you? You follow me.” (John 21:22) The sad flip side of this coin is when I take secret solace from the struggles of other churches.

When CCC folks excitedly talk about the podcasts of other pastors they are listening to. In my flesh, I can say, “Dang, I wish they were talking about my preaching that way.” This reveals how I want to be the center of attention and take that place away from Jesus at our church. But the fact is, I listen to those same pastors! It is very beneficial to my growth to be challenged by those guys. I am a better pastor because they are great at what they do!

When I have to admit my failures to others. This test proves that I want to look a certain way: successful. That I want notoriety and acclaim that is not mine. The standard is not my degree of success, but the degree of acclaim God receives from my life. If my failure can bring Him glory, then so be it. But I am always seeking to glorify Him in success – at all costs sometimes. God forgive me for cheating You of your glory!

When I find myself seeking the approval of men and women more than the approval of God. This test, I guess like all the others here, again proves that I am most interested in how I look and what others think of me. That makes for a poor ambassador for God. When an ambassador’s main goal is not to accurately and fully represent his Master then the ambassador is not doing his job. How often I have failed when called to represent the Creator God by yielding to His creation.