S12P1 – The testing of faith: the focus

This series explores the testing of our faith, its process and purpose, as explained by James to the scattered tribes of Israel.

James 1:2-4
Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

Some believe that God allows trials in order to discover things about us, to determine whether we are ready for certain opportunities or blessings. This kind of thinking, however, flies in the face of God’s omniscience. He already knows everything about us. He seeks to discover nothing. As this passage indicates, the testing of our faith is for us, for our benefit and our discovery of ourselves. That is the focus of testing. Its fruit, when fully ripe, is a perfectly developed faith through the maturation of several other spiritual qualities, such as endurance.

Perspective matters when trials come our way. Understanding the purpose behind the process should elicit not fear and apprehension but excitement and joy. This is a period of growth, and we should jump at every chance we have to get closer to spiritual maturity. When we invite God to take us deeper and bring us closer, we can expect that trials will be part of the equation. If we understand this, then we will not approach God with questions such as “why me” during these times. We will thank him for the opportunity to be transformed further.

If it is our desire to be fully developed Christians, then we must affirm that it is our desire to be developed by trials. It is the way of the Father, and we must trust his ways. Trials are a blessing for they conform us more and more into the image of Christ. Father, keep our perspective correct during times of trial so that we may welcome the perfection of our faith with joy and anticipation, trusting You to complete the good work You have begun in us.