“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3
We grow up taking tests through out school, and it doesn’t stop when we leave the formal education arena. On many jobs a new employee is put on probation for 3-6 months. That’s a testing period to see if we can handle the job assignment. We implement “test runs” on certain projects and machinery. We test would be suitors or potential mates. Life is full of tests. So why is it any surprise to us that our faith is tested? Why is it that when it comes to God and spiritual things we expect a smooth, unquestionable ride? Due to the eternal life and death consequences of spiritual choices, influences and roles, it only makes sense that our spiritual maturity which is directly related to the strength of our faith, will be tested.
Physical and natural abilities and experiences are more easily proven and discerned. You may have certificates and degrees, letters of recommendations, resume`s and the like that give credibility to your ability to perform a job or task. But in the spirit realm, Bible School degrees, Bible Institute certificates, titles and even resume`s with mountains of experience is not what proves ones faith with God, but rather how we face and endure the trials we go through. It is the testing of our faith that develops perseverance and “Perseverance must finish its work so that (we) may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (Verse 4)
I’m still not at the point where I can say that I enjoy spiritual tests and I’ve been saved for a long time. I’m not sure that’s what the scripture means when it says, “Count it all joy when you go through diverse trials…” (KJV) But rather, be thankful, be glad because you’re anticipating the outcome once you pass the test. It’s kind of like when you start working out or exercising. The initial pain of the workout is not “enjoyable,” but you’re looking forward to the results. For the veteran athlete it gets easier the more experience and the accomplished they become. They start looking forward to testing their skills through increased levels of difficulty or competition, but it’s still painful, just on a different level. So it is also in the spirit realm. You can appreciate, be glad about where the test is taking you, doing in you or preparing you for. You have to make the choice to “count it all joy;” mentally coach or encourage yourself. In Hebrews 12:2-3, the writer says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the JOY set BEFORE him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Be alert. Differentiate, are you being tempted by your own lustful desires or is your faith being tested so that you may grow and become more mature? You may not like the pain of the test, but allow it to prepare you for what God has in store for you. It's God's measuring stick of maturity.
The Lord be with you. You can do all things, through Christ who gives you strength!