James 1:2-4 The Message – Testing

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Trials can be considered pure joy only when there is knowledge that they are designed by God for a purpose. They are tests of faith given in order to develop perseverance, thereby producing maturity in Christian character. “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.” (Romans 5:3 NKJV)

I will tell you that I don’t like tribulation. I don’t like it, but I understand it and where I need to place my trust. God seeks proof of genuine love, faith and growth in the lives of His people. He tests them in various ways.

God tests us to refine us. “And it shall come to pass in all the land, says the Lord, that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it. I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:8-9 NKJV)

God tests us to prove our obedience. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.” (Exodus 16:4 NKJV)

And God allows faith to be tested. Faith testing is the means through which the genuineness of our faith is proved and our Christian character developed.

Testing proves the genuineness of our faith. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7 NKJV)

Testing develops our Christian character. That’s what our foundational verse is saying. But not only does testing prove and develop our character, it cleans and purifies us. “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10 NLKV)

But thanks be to God that He promises help during testing. “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:32 NKJV) and “When you pass through the water, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV)

Friend, our faith will be tested. Faith testing is not always pleasant, but with our minds and eyes fixed on God, it will produce a blessing that someday we will not be able to contain it. When we believe that our faith is being tested, that’s the perfect time to go to the secret place where you can call on the name of the Lord and pray. That’s the perfect time to ask Him to strengthen and enlighten you as you walk through your circumstance. It’s the perfect time to gather prayer partners around you to agree to pray with you. That’s the perfect time to worship the Lord. It’s in the midst of worship that God manifests Himself. When God appears in His awesome power, those things, the enemies of God (sickness, disease, conflict, unforgiveness, strife, heartache, fear, sorrow, pain, sin) have reason to fear Him and flea as they will be destroyed. In the midst of worship, God moves. Worship is turning to God in awe, praise and joy, as his people realize how wonderful He is. Prayer is a natural part of worship: to know God is to want to worship him and pray to him. Prayer demonstrates our absolute dependency on God.

Dear Lord, thank You that You test our faith and our obedience. Thank You that You refine us and cleanse us and make us stronger. Teach us to turn towards You when we face testing. Teach us to call upon You in prayer and praise. Thank You for the promises of Your Word that the testing of our faith will develop our patience, and patience will bring about perseverance so that we can run the full race and not fail. Forgive us Lord when we think that giving up is a better answer than to keep on keepin on. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

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