Summary: God wants me to live by faith. God builds my faith by testing it. How then, does God do this? I’d like to look at four ways God tests and builds our faith.
Testing Your Faith
The Bible says in Matthew 9:29 "According to your faith it will be done unto you." 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 generally will 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 parents 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 about how we grow in our faith. In Luke 17:5 the apostles 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?
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 sitting in church. James 1:3 says this "The testing of your faith 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." Did you realize that God is testing you every moment of your life? Life is a test. It is a temporary assignment and it’s a trust. 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’d like to look at four ways God tests our faith. These are four of the 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.
That’s trials, problems, pressures, tough circumstances. All the stresses of life. 1 Peter 1:6-7 "For a little while you have had to suffer great and all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." The trials and the problems and the difficulties that come into your life come to test your faith and to prove your faith.
Nothing ever happens by accident in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. Everything is Father filtered. I’m not saying that God plans all the bad things that happens to you. He doesn’t have to. We live in a broken world. A lot of problems we bring on ourselves and things like that. A lot of problems other people bring on us and we’re innocent victims.