Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” (Ex. 20:20)

The Ten Commandments were given to prepare the Hebrew people before they entered the land where pagans lived. God wanted to make sure they could see the dangers that lay ahead. Today, they are our test questions as well. Like traffic cones, they are to be used to help us maneuver through the bumps and turns on the road we call our lives.

God may test us for several reasons. It may be so we can see the areas in which we need improvement. It may be to strengthen our faith in order to prepare us for something yet to come. Perhaps there is a temptation on the road ahead, looming like a deep pothole seen at the last moment. If we hit it, it can send our steering out of whack. But, if we can follow the directions of God’s Holy Spirit and maneuver around the smaller ones first, He will make us better aware of the road. Then God’s Spirit can open our eyes to see the bigger ones when they suddenly appear. The older I get, the more I realize just living the first commandment is a major challenge! Learning to follow God’s Holy Spirit, swerving from this pothole and that one gets easier. That’s because we become practiced at following God’s directing—that’s the significance of “fear of God.” And Proverbs says the fear of the Lord is, after all, the beginning of wisdom.

When God tests you, welcome it.

Julie B. Cosgrove is a widowed Christian author and speaker who lives in Fort Worth, Texas. She is involved with women’s and outreach ministries.