Gaining from testing
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV
From the text, James says referring to trial as a “testing of your faith.” It is a test to show our spiritual resolve. The test is not designed to cause us to fail but to prepare us to succeed. The intended result of the test is to get us to the next stage which is perseverance. “Know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Perseverance is not a passive submission to the situation, but rather an active, firm, battling through the situation. An analogy that describes perseverance is boot camp. The point of the drills and the obstacle courses is not to produce under-performance but to produce strong and confident soldiers who are prepared for much more difficult tests and real battles. James asserts that the key to arriving at the perseverance stage each time is to deal with each and every test as a spiritual matter. It is to acknowledge that engaging in the testing of life needs spiritual strength that God provides. Christians persevere because they trust in God. Perseverance is not just holding back the discouraging results of bad temper or remorseful attitude because of self-pity. Faith will always be tested and when faith overcomes, the more we gain God’s approval. “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7). Testing helps us to not get off course from God’s ways. The psalmist writes, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” (Psalm 119:67). Sometimes God sends testing to discipline us so that we will become more aware of our sins and make us more committed about obeying God’s commands. “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father...God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:7, 10–11). We gain when we are tested for our faith becomes strong and produce Christlikeness in us. Always remember that there are those that are always watching us how we react to the difficulties of life. They formulate their views of Christianity from what they see or do not see in us. If they see us continually trusting and serving God in the midst of our testing, they will be convinced that there is something to our faith.