Summary: Do we have a faith that can be trusted in difficult times?
Can You Trust Your Faith?
Someone once said, “A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted.” That is precisely what God’s Word is telling us in our text. James is encouraging us to understand that faith must be, and will be tested.
But let’s think for a minute how we respond when God tests us. Warren Weirsbe said, “Outlook determines outcome, and attitude determines action. God tells us to expect trials. It is not ‘if you fall into various testings’ but ‘when you fall into various testings.’ The believer who expects his Christian life to be easy is in for a shock.”
Folks we are going to have tests and trials here on earth. Often for our own good sometimes we have tragedies happen and those are not meant to harm us, they come because we live in a fallen world. Sin and death are part of this world but they will not be part of heaven.
This is why we see the unusual expression, “count it all joy.” When my car breaks down, our when someone says something mean to me I don’t always feel like saying, boy that makes me happy.
James tells us as believers to rejoice, not because the pain is pleasant but because we should have a perspective which looks beyond the present life to eternal reward.
The pure joy is not a present happiness, but joy in anticipation of God’s future.
Remember Paul said in Romans 8:17-18, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs-- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (NIV)
As we think of what Jesus went through for us how can we compare what we go through for Him? When we think of Heaven and the glory we share in, how can we compare our testing to eternity with Christ?
Let me ask you knowing heaven awaits us, can we trust God? Then considering what God has done to bring us home can we trust our faith to get us there?
With that said today, let me give you two reasons that our faith is tested.
God wants to give us:
I. A Faith that Enlarges Us—James 1:2-4, “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.” (NKJ)
I often pray God make me better than what I am. God is still working on me and really I should add to my prayer and God make me bigger in faith than what I am.
Let’s say right off that it is not us on trial it is our faith that is on trial. A lady called a pastor that had a phone in Radio program. He was a wise older pastor who had a very reassuring voice. The lady was crying. She said, “Pastor, I was born blind. I don’t mind being blind, but I have been told by some Christian friends, that if I had more faith God would heal me.”
The pastor said, “Ma’am, do you have one of those white canes?”
She said, “Yes, I do.”
He said, “Then the next time someone tells you that hit them over the head with the cane, and tell them if they had more faith that wouldn’t hurt.”
Tests in the school of faith are not electives they are required courses. Notice 3 tests of faith here:
A. A Test to Move Us—““My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” (v.2) The Bible doesn’t say if you fall into trials, it says WHEN. This aspect of a test is to jolt us out of the comfortable, places we fall into. They provoke a reaction and often times cause us to increase our faith.
The word trial in the NKJV and NIV, or temptations in the KJV means to try or prove, to provoke or discipline. Has God ever taken you to the woodshed? He does this to discipline or to prove our faith. Does God really work all things together for good?
This type of test proves if we really believe and trust God. It moves us onward and upward in our faith. These tests are various, or different depending on what it will take to get our attention. Just as disciplines vary when raising children so does discipline vary with God’s children.