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Tests of Faith

”Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

Trials are part of God’s design of the believer’s life. This is because trials are tests of faith - tests which will indicate whether such faith is genuine or not and tests which will indicate the strength of such faith if proven to be genuine. When we understand this, we begin to see that trials have a way of showing us the real condition of our faith.

James calls believers to count it all joy when they go through these various kinds of trials. He echoes what Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:6, that we can rejoice when we have been grieved by various trials. It’s seemingly odd to use phrases such as “count it all joy” and “rejoice” when we talk about trials. After all, trials always connote some level of problem or misery. Yet we are not called to count it all joy or to rejoice in trials because we are suffering at the present time. Rather, we are called to count it all joy and to rejoice in trials because of the end result of such trials: that it will produce steadfastness and lead to our spiritual maturity (perfect and complete, lacking in nothing).

Isn’t it true that when the Lord ordains trials in our lives, these trials become God’s mediums to teach us endurance and God’s instruments to mature us in the faith? Trials have a unique way of humbling us. When in trial, we see our limitations and our weaknesses so evidently. Yet in the same manner, when in trial, we see God’s hand and heart so clearly. We see God working out His purposes so perfectly and we see God displaying His perfect character so consistently. When we see God’s work and person this way, doesn’t that usher us to a deeper level of dependence on Him and obedience to Him? It’s no wonder then why God designed trials as part of our lives, because His purpose for trials is for us to see and experience more of Him. When we find ourselves in shaky circumstances, we see more clearly how God is our only solid rock and firm foundation.

Dear believer, while trials can definitely be painful and grievous, it is important to know that trials can never destroy or put an end to genuine faith. As James clearly pointed out, trials simply put our faith to the test. And should our faith be proven true in and through those trials, those trials will serve to produce steadfastness of faith and maturity of faith. Believer, take heart, as you go through even the hardest of times, God has already given you a fixed assurance: true faith will always persevere to the end.

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