“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV
Does the Lord test us solely to see how we’re gonna react in certain situations? Does He do this to see if we’re good enough to warrant His favor? First of all, why would the one who is the Alpha and the Omega, the begining and the end, the first and the last, the past, the present, and the future, need to see anything? (Revelation 22:13) He already knows. And secondly, if the Lord tests us to see if we’re good enough to warrant His love these next verses are null and void:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24 KJV
No one is good enough to deserve God’s favor. Having God’s favor is a merciful gift. A gift that is only made possible through Jesus Christ. When God tests us he is REFINING us. This matches scripture:
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2 NIV
“For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” Psalm 66:10-12 KJV
Often our trials show US things about ourselves. We get to see where we must improve to reflect the image of Jesus Christ. God knows us through and through and where we need to grow. For example, on the night that Jesus was arrested Peter promised Jesus he would never desert Him. But Jesus looked right at him and said,
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” Matthew 26:34 NIV
“Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:69-75 NIV
It’s not God who needs to see
to show you you
and show me me
He already knows
Jesus already knew what Peter would do. But Peter had no idea what his heart was capable of.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 KJV
Peter learned some things about himself from his trial. Though he fell flat on his face he profited from his experience. Because he persevered (did not give up) he soon grew to become the pillar of the church Jesus said he would be:
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 KJV
Like Peter our trials show us US. They can show where we need to grow into the image of Jesus Christ. And they should also be showing us just how Awesome and Merciful our Holy God is to Love us in spite of how wretched we are in these fleshly bodies. (Romans 7:21-25)
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Psalm 103:8-14 KJV
“Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 WEB
Just as God is patient with us we need to be patient with ourselves and one another. We can be confident as the scripture says that God will fulfill His promises to us. He will complete the work in us He began. When you feel down about your trials, or when your sins upset you, remember and meditate on God’s promises. Remember His mercy for those who come to Him with a repentant heart. (Proverbs 28:13) This gives us strength and confidence. Feelings are fickeled, but not God. He will do in our lives what He said he would. All we have to do is believe Him and persevere (not give up).
Our trials though many are actually perfecting us, making us complete in God’s sight. This is a cause for joy! Everything the enemy throws our way to destroy us God makes work out for our good.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:28-32 NIV
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