But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.
Been through the fire lately? Just can’t seem to shake that cloud of difficulties and problems? Have you been wondering, “Why must life be so hard?”
Whenever hardship or a series of difficulties comes your way the most important questions you can ask are “Lord, what are you teaching me? What are you trying to show me?” James 1:2-4 teaches that “the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
When God tests you, He is helping you to grow in the faith.
A healthy Christian view of testing is not “poor, poor, pitiful me” but “thank God for growing me in the faith.” God uses testing for your benefit: “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
Tests are not for God’s benefit. He already knows what will be revealed by your testing. God uses tests to teach and mature you in the faith that you might “come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
When God tests you, you learn the reality of your faith.
He also uses tests to reveal those who are not really in the faith. (Lk 8:13) Unfortunately there are many people who claim to be Christians but when put to the test abandon the faith. They only wanted the “feel-good” part of Christianity. Fire either refines or destroys depending on the reality of what goes into the fire.
When you are tested you should respond by testing yourself. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul’s instruction is to “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” Are you responding to your tests from God with faith, trust, and godly behavior? Are you depending on yourself, someone else, or God? The Lord’s desire is that you trust Him completely. Failure to trust Him in the midst of the trial reveals a deficiency in your faith. Under stress, if you will use God’s tests for their intended purpose, you will discover what you really believe about God.
When God tests you, He reveals His will for your life.
Testing is also one of the ways in which God reveals His will for you. When you sincerely seek to remain faithful to God through a trial or temptation “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Ro 12:2)
God may be saying, “This is not for you.” Or, “You are not ready for that yet.” He may also be saying, “Be patient. I have something else for you that I will reveal later.” You should be encouraged to know that what He ultimately has for you is “good, pleasing, and perfect…”
Sometimes you may wonder why you experience more trials than your Christian brother. It just seems like you get more than your fair share of difficulties. Or you may be going through a difficulty while you see your friend in the faith receiving multiple blessings. You may even ask God, “What’s up with that?” However, we are warned to avoid such comparisons. “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else…” (Gal 6:4)
When God tests you, it’s always rooted in His love for you.
God’s tests are uniquely personal and based on His perfect knowledge and love for you. Only you can take the test that God has prepared for you. Do you recall the conversation between Jesus and Peter at the end of the book of John? Jesus had just disclosed Peter’s future trials, which prompted Peter to ask about John’s fate. “Lord, what about him?” (John 21:21) he asked. Jesus responded, “…what is that to you?” (John 21:22) Do not compare your tests to that of others. Make good use of the opportunity to become more like Christ.
What are you going through right now? What is God trying to teach you? What is He trying to reveal to you about Himself and about you? Is your faith standing up to the test? Are you being refined or tarnished by the fire? Is He using this experience to reveal the answer to a question you have asked concerning His will?
May you be so faithful as to be able to join with Job in saying, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.”
For more on this topic, check out this article: Do You Trust God No Matter What?
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.