Being tested by God has been misunderstood and therefore mismanaged by most Christians. It’s clear in the scriptures that God allows those He loves to be tested. And it is also clear that the reasons for the testing is to develop character, perseverance and to build faith. There is good purpose is being tested by God.
Let’s first look at the definition. The Greek word translated as “test” in the New Testament is dokimazo. It means to “put to the test, prove, examine, and, by implication, to approve.”
The Bible tells us: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.“ Jeremiah 17:9-10
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.“ Luke 6:45.
We fear to be tested because we fear a negative outcome, and/or are afraid of why God is doing the testing. But when we can adjust our thinking to agree with God, we can actually become excited about a test. Why? Because we can know that the test is for a good and Godly purpose. God always makes a way for you and I to overcome the test. He doesn’t test us without first making a way of escape. We can have victory in the test and victory is is guaranteed. But it’s assured only IF we will follow His instructions.
Be aware, however, that God doesn’t use sickness to test His children. It isn’t God Who sends sickness, disease, or calamity into our lives. God can use these things but He doesn’t send them to you. It is true. Jesus warned us that the devil is the one that steals, kills, and destroys. These are from the enemy, Satan, not from God.
God warned us that we’d encounter trouble in this world, but then also encouraged us by telling us that He had overcome it. Let’s look at His words.
”These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” John 16:33.
Being tested by God is a matter of the heart and is for a specific purpose. Understanding why God tests us will empower us not only to endure the tests, but find joy in it. We can turn the trial into joy if we approach testing with an attitude of the heart just like Jesus taught.
”My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.“ James 1:2-4.
How could God want us to “count it all joy” when we experience tribulation? As we read the above scripture we see that the purpose of the test is: to build our faith—which is being tested when we are put through a trial. The patience required to endure a challenge is a direct workout for our faith—to give it strength and power. Faith isn’t strengthened unless it endures resistance.
It’s the same principle of building a strong bicep. If your arm muscle is seldom used, it becomes weak and unable to lift heavy weight. But if you work it out regularly, it will become strong and stronger. Anyone who lifts weights knows that a muscle must resist weight in order to become stronger. Working out for one or two days will not do it. But if you patiently continue to exercise with resistance, you build strength and eventually are strong enough to overcome the resistance.
Our faith works in much the same way. It is our spiritual muscle. Too often someone who is struggling with a trial will hear a sermon that causes their faith to rise up and they are determined to have victory. But after a day or two of dealing with the difficulties of their trial, their faith wanes and their words and actions regress back to being a reflection of the problem rather than the victory. This unfortunate lack of faithful resistance causes them to remain ‘in’ the problem instead of overcoming the problem.
God has given us the prescription for victory. Persistent faith and patience to resist UNTIL the victory comes. If you do this, your faith will be much stronger after the trial than it was before the trial. We have joy when we overcome. We can have joy in the process because, by faith, we know the outcome already! With God we will overcome. And knowing this, you and I turn trials into joy each and every time.
There is no better and permanent way to build faith than to withstand the test and by exercising your faith with patience.
Testing is used to discover the truth. For example in school, tests are used to see if we’ve learned what has been taught. There are teachers who make tests exceptionally difficult trying to fail students. I’ve had a few. You probably have too. Other teachers delight in the success of their students. Those teachers I can still remember. You’re probably the same.
God is love and wants you to succeed. When God tests you, He wants your faith in him to develop. He wants your trust in Him to be real. If you fall short, He takes pleasure in teaching you so you can pass the same test the next time. When your faith proves genuine, He will reward you.
Our faith in God is precious to Him. The Bible puts it this way: “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 1:7.
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.“ James 1:12.
Being tested by God is simply part of the process of becoming more like Him. The more we lean into Him, the more grace He can pour on us. And when you do this regularly, you will turn all your trials into joy.
Once again, reminding you that with God nothing is impossible!
Dale & Paula Black
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