Summary: 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.
HOW GOD TESTS OUR FAITH
I want to ask you a question this morning, “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 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’s the same way. God is our heavenly Father and He’s pleased when we trust Him. That’s why the Bible says, “without faith it’s impossible to please God.”
We can obey God. We can do the right thing and still not be pleasing God because we’re not doing it in faith. So, it’s important to learn how to live expectantly as we 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 today about “How do we grow in our faith?”.
In Luke 17:5 the apostles said to Jesus, "Lord increase our faith." How do we 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 we’re real excited about when we 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’s tested.
We don’t develop our faith just sitting on our blessed assurance 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?
In the Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren talks about how life is a test and it’s a temporary assignment and it’s a trust. These are the facts of life. Every moment of the day…our faith is being tested. In fact, all this past week it was tested and all this next week our faith is going to be tested.
Every day we 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’s 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 He do it?
I want to give you the four ways that God tests our faith so that we’ll be aware of them. These are the four most common ways that God tests and builds our faith. We’ll probably get tested on every one of them this week. Count on it. In fact, we’ll probably have all of them sometimes in a single 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 says, "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." That’s a very powerful verse. The trials and the problems and the difficulties that come into our lives come to test our faith and to prove our faith.