Summary: We tend to get what we expect out of life. According to our faith, it will be done to us. Pastor Rick and Pastor Holladay teach four ways that God tests our faith.
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HOW GOD TESTS OUR FAITH
February 10-11, 2007
Pastor Tom and I want to talk to you about, How does God test our faith?
The Bible says in Matthew 9:29 "According to your faith it will be done unto you." That’s one of my favorite verses in the Bible. What are you expecting God to do in your life? This is the law that God has established. It’s called the Law of Expectation. The fact is, we tend to get what we expect out of life. We tend to see what we expect to see. We tend to hear what we expect to hear. We tend to feel the way we expect to feel. We inevitably accomplish what we expect what we’re going to accomplish. This is the law of faith. God says you get to choose. Because "According to your faith it will be done unto you."
Another important verse on faith in the Bible is Hebrews 11:6. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." How many of you are parents? How many of you are pleased when your children trust you? God is the same way. God is our heavenly Father and God is pleased when we trust Him. That’s why the Bible says without faith it’s impossible to please God.
You can obey God. You can do the right thing and still not be pleasing God because you’re not doing it in faith. So it’s important to learn how to live expectantly as you learn to live by faith.
"Whatever is not of faith," the Bible says in Romans 14, "is sin."
Because that’s true we need to talk tonight about how do we grow in our faith. In Luke 17:5 the apostle said to Jesus, "Lord increase our faith." How do you do that? I’d like to have more faith. I know you’d like to have more faith. If that’s what pleases God then I want to have more of it. The question is how? If faith is what makes my life rewarding and fulfilling and confident how does God build my faith?
Let me ask you this: do you take vitamins for it? No. Is there some kind of therapy you go through to have your faith built? No. Is there some seminar that’s going to build your faith? No, not really.
Here’s the secret. And it’s not really something you’re real excited about when you first hear it. But the truth is God builds your faith and my faith by testing it. He builds our faith by putting it to the test, by trying it. Faith is like a muscle and when it’s stretched and it’s pulled then it develops. When you test your muscles against weights then your muscles develop. And your faith develops as it is tested.
You don’t develop your faith just setting on your blessed assurance in church. James 1:3 says this "The testing of your faith [circle this] develops perseverance [circle "develops perseverance"] so that you may be mature and complete." He says the purpose of these tests is that our faith, our perseverance will grow and will be mature and complete.
Job says the same thing speaking from experience in Job 7:17-18 "What is man that You make so much of him and that You give him so much attention and that You examine him every morning and test him every moment." Circle "test him." Did you realize that God is testing you every moment of your life? In the Purpose Driven Life book I talk about how life is a test and it is temporary assignment and it’s a trust. These are the facts of life. Every moment of the day your faith is being tested. In fact all this past week it was tested and all this next week your faith is going to be tested.
Every day you have faith building opportunities. The problem is most of us don’t recognize them when they’re there. We flunk the test because we don’t even realize it is a test and that God is trying to help us grow.
So if God wants me to live by faith and if God builds my faith by testing it then the natural question is how does God do it?
I want to give you the four ways that God tests our faith so that you’ll be aware of them. Actually there are more than these but I just want to cover the most common. These are the four most common ways that God tests and builds our faith. You’ll probably get tested on every one of them this week. Count on it. In fact you’ll probably have them sometimes in a day.
1. God tests our faith through difficulties.