My wife and I are going through some very trying times right now or as the text calls them . . .
You know how the text goes:
Romans 5:3-4 (CJB)
3 But not only that,
let us also boast in our troubles;
because we know that:
trouble produces endurance,
4 endurance produces character,
and character produces hope;
Like I said, “character builders.”
The Greek word that is being translated as character is δοκιμή dokimē which means: Test, ordeal, trial, approved character, proof. At the time this is used, it is a relatively new word used in the text and not used in the Septuagint and rarely in secular Greek .
It is formed from the base word δοκιμάζω dokimazō which means : To try, scrutinize, prove, test, examine.
Classical Greek (Secular or Non-Biblical Greek)
In classical Greek the term was used for “testing” the genuineness of metals and coins.
Furthermore, persons could be “put to the test” or “scrutinized.” And if this tested person were “approved” dokimazō could also describe that state of acceptance.
Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “1375. δοκιμάζω,” in The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Delta-Epsilon, (Springfield, MO: Complete Biblical Library, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1375. Î´Î¿ÎºÎ¹Î¼á½±Î¶Ï‰”.
Trails and tests refine us. They allow us and others to know whether we are indeed genuine – whether our trust is indeed genuine.
However, in the end, neither others or ourselves get to decide whether we have passed the test . . . The Lord has that exclusive right and privilege. Notice the following text:
2 Corinthians 10:17-18 (CJB)
17 So, let anyone who wants to boast, boast about Adonai;
Jeremiah 9:24 (CJB) 24 instead, let the boaster boast about this: that he understands and knows me — that I am Adonai, practicing grace, justice and righteousness in the land; for in these things I take pleasure,” says Adonai.
18 because it is not the one
who recommends himself who is worthy of approval,
but the one whom the Lord recommends.
This is why we are warned to examine ourselves as well. We are being told to examine our own character . . . it could be said we are being told to test ourselves so that we will pass the test. In other words, it would not be unlike practicing and taking an ACT pretest to make sure you pass THE REAL TEST – the one that matters.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (CJB)
5 Examine yourselves
to see whether you are living the life of trust.
Don’t you realize that Yeshua the Messiah is in you?
— unless you fail to pass the test.
Examine yourselves. Test yourselves.
These are commands. These are commands done in love. After all, what is the alternative if you do not take these commands seriously? What will happen if you do not pass the test?
We are told examine ourselves before we eat the bread or drink from the cup:
1 Corinthians 11:28 (CJB)
28 So let a person examine himself first,
and then he may eat of the bread and drink from the cup;
What is the big deal? Why do we have to do this? The context answers it with stark reality!
1 Corinthians 11:27 (CJB)
27 Therefore, whoever eats the Lord’s bread
or drinks the Lord’s cup
in an unworthy manner
will be guilty of desecrating the body and blood of the Lord!
But it doesn’t stop there. Let’s look at more of the context.
1 Corinthians 11:29 (CJB)
29 for a person who eats and drinks
without recognizing the body
eats and drinks judgment upon himself.
Further context tells us that self-examination can be a vital part of our own health and well-being. It also tells us that we are being tested, disciplined, refined . . . having our character built so that we will NOT come under judgment – so that we will NOT be condemned along with the rest of the world:
1 Corinthians 11:31-32 (CJB)
31 If we would examine ourselves,
we would not come under judgment.
32 But when we are judged by the Lord,
we are being disciplined,
so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
Our actions are visual representatives of our character.
I am going to let that sink in for a second. Our actions are our proclamations. As ambassadors for the One True God, our actions are a reflection on His Name – His reputation. Without a doubt, we do not want to represent His Name in a negative light. Our character is built by Him so that we can reflect His Name accurately. Let’s look at the final part of this context:
1 Corinthians 11:24-26 (CJB)
24 and after he had made the b’rakhah (blessing)
he broke it and said,
“This is my body, which is for you.
Do this as a memorial to me”;
25 likewise also the cup after the meal, saying,
“This cup is the New Covenant effected by my blood;
do this, as often as you drink it, as a memorial to me.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord,
until he comes.
Many years ago, I amplified and expounded Romans 12 using only the biblical meanings of words.
Notice the following verse and how it applies to our discussion:
Romans 12:2 (Amplified and Expounded by me)
12:2Don’t be guided or shaped by this era, age or world system.
Instead, undergo a metamorphosis of your spiritual understanding and intellect
so that you will be able to test, scrutinize and examine
what Adonai’s will, design and purpose is:
A will that is generous and morally upright,
pleasing, complete and perfect.
But we are also talking about calling upon the name of the Lord for salvation – at least we are in my case. The following verse is part of the verse read to me where I felt the conviction of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) so many years ago. It is using this same Greek word that we have been discussing:
Ephesians 5:10 (CJB)
10 try to determine what will please the Lord.
Why do we have to do this? Is it really that big of a deal? ABSOLUTLEY! Notice the following:
1 Corinthians 3:13 (CJB)
13 But each one’s work will be shown for what it is;
the Day will disclose it,
because it will be revealed by fire
— the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.
The context leaves no wiggle room. The context lays it out as clear as it can be. The consequences are VERY REAL:
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (CJB)
16 Don’t you know that you people are God’s temple
and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
17 So if anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy him.
For God’s temple is holy, and you yourselves are that temple.
So as we pointed out at the beginning of this post, let us boast in our troubles. Let us thank God that he tests us – that he refines us – that he builds our character . . .
WE HAVE A CHOICE:
We can feel sorry for ourselves when He tests us.
We can lament how hard it is to face these troubles – these tests.
We can have our pity parties and wonder if God even cares . . .
We can or we can praise God in these storms.
We can consider ourselves fortunate and privileged that He values us.
We can give thanks to the Holy One that He considers our CHARACTER WORTH BUILDING, because if he didn’t build our character or consider our character worth being built, there would be no hope.
an emissary of the Messiah Yeshua
by command of God our deliverer
and the Messiah Yeshua our hope,
Much love to all of you – much compassion in your times of testing. God loves you and so do I!