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God is on the “lookout” for those He can show His strength to and through.
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
David bemoaned that godly and faithful men were hard to find in his day.
Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. (Psalm 12:1)
He found the main evidence of men’s ungodliness and unfaithfulness in their untamed speech.
They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? (Psalm 12:2-4)
James deemed a mature man as one whose tongue had been tamed. Temperance in speech is an indicator that one is temperate in all other areas as well.
… If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:2)
bridle > to hold in check, restrain
Scripture counts those who “rule their spirit” and are “slow to anger” as the truly mighty.
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (Proverbs 16:32)
When was David behaving as a mighty man?
When he held himself back from killing Saul; or, when he went forth to kill Nabal?
When he refrained from ordering Shimei’s death; or, when he quickly ordered the death of the rich man who took the poor man’s lamb?
Was he a strong or a weak man when he called for Bathsheba to come to his palace?
When God strengthens us with “all might” we demonstrate “all patience and long-suffering.”
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (Colossians 1:10,11)
Without temperance we run the risk of becoming reprobate (i.e. those who fail the test.)
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)
In a moment of weakness, Peter had failed his test. He knew well that Satan bides his time with every man, waiting for an opportune time to strike.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8,9)
Unless we are committed to adding temperance to our faith (2 Pet. 1:6) we are “sitting ducks” waiting to be picked off by opportunistic powers of darkness.
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. (Proverbs 25:28)
God’s promotion comes as a result of passing the secret tests in our life.
And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. (Genesis 39:7-12)
Where Satan tempts us, God tests us. He calls us to be faithful in one area, so he can promote us in another area, knowing we will be faithful there as well.
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. (Luke 16:10)
God put Paul into the ministry because He had tested and proved him to be a faithful man.
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry (1 Timothy 1:12)
To be qualified for leadership in the church we must first rule our own homes well. We will rule our own home well only as we rule our own spirit well.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (1 Timothy 3:2-5)
Men can fool men; but the Lord knows those who are His. In their hearts and in their homes, apart from the eyes of the public, He sees them departing from iniquity.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2:19)
The rare man who truly fears God by departing from evil catches His eye.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? (Job 1:8)
With each test that Abraham passed, God came to know him as a faithful friend and servant who He knew would fulfill his responsibility to his family.
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. (Genesis 18:19)
What we do today in private, before God’s eyes, is the preparation for what God will do for and with us publicly in the future.
… And thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:4