Pass the TEST!

James 1:2-18 (Read) “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…”

I know what its like to feel the pressure of tests and exams. When I was in the Police Academy, we had to pass a LAW exam every 2 weeks and if we failed, we were sent back to a rookie squad. Thankfully, this didn’t happen. No one likes to face a test, especially a test to our faith in Jesus.

James the Just exhorts us to expect tests to come our way and to count it all joy when being tested. As Jesus was tested (Matt 4:1-11), so we will be. The Father tested Jesus to bring out the best in him but Satan tempted Jesus to bring out the worst in him. The same happens with us. God designs tests to produce spiritual maturity and Christ-likeness in us. If we value comfort, material things and the present more than we value character, spiritual growth and eternal matters, then we will approach tests with a negative outlook.

Joy is possible when you know that God has a purpose for the test. God’s goal for us is maturity, not prosperity or success. If these things come, good and well. If not, we haven’t missed out be we have missed the point of the journey if we don;t grow closer to Christ and become more like him. Ephesians 2:8-10 outlines 3 works that God does in the believers life:

  1. For us – salvation
  2. In us – sanctification
  3. Through us – service

God is more concerned with what he is doing in us before he is concerned about what he’s doing through us. Character is not developed in an altar call but in the process of surrendering our will to God while we endure the test. Ignorance of the Scriptures limit our hope during a test and we set ourselves up for a fall during the test but Romans 15:4 says, “It’s through the endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures that we have hope.”

Ask God for WISDOM when facing a TEST. We need wisdom to not waste the opportunity the tests gives us to grow. Too often we don’t learn what God intends for us to learn from the tests we face and we end up going back around the mountain. Ask God for wisdom and not simply to escape the test.

James wants us to realise in this text that one of the greatest tests for the Christian will be the challenges that come with wealth. Wealth has a way of distracting us from our need for salvation and to be dependent on God. The world encourages us to be self-sufficient but God’s word exhorts us to be God-dependent. There is nothing wrong with having money, in fact, God exhorts us to be good stewards of the resources he entrusts to us but there is something wrong with money having us and we directing our lives, first and foremost, by how it will affect us financially. The love of money is the root of all evil.

We also need to know the difference between a test and a temptation. God tests us to grow us but he never tempts us to defile us. We are not to blame God when our own desire leads us into sin. When dealing with temptation, we are to look past the bait, to the consequence. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.”

God intends our tests to become testimonies. V12 is such an encouragement to stand the test and one day receive the reward. Don’t let your test become your tombstone but make it a stepping stone to greater maturity in God. Don’t respond manward in a test but Godward.

Lead the Change!

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One Response to “Pass the TEST!”

  1. Steve McCracken Says:

    This is great stuff Corey. Keep up the good work of encouraging people forward in God.

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