Tests of Faith

MEMORY SELECTION: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” —James 1:12


THE primary thought of testing, or of temptation, as far as a Christian is concerned, is that of proving by testing, or testing under trial. And so in James 1:2-4 the apostle states, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [various trials]; knowing this, that the trying [testing] of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect [mature, growing into maturity of godliness] and entire, wanting [lacking] nothing.”

There are many texts that also speak of suffering; for example, in I Peter 4:12,13, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try [test] you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

From the two texts quoted it is apparent that there is a definite relationship between faith, trials and testings under difficult circumstances, suffering, patience, and spiritual growth.

The Apostle Paul in Hebrews 11:1 defines faith: “Now faith is the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence [conviction] of things not seen.” It has as its undergirding the enlightenment of the mind by the Holy Spirit, and from the Word of God a revealment of the divine plan or purpose for the church and the world. Our faith is measured by how completely we accept what God has said.

One of the astounding things that is revealed to us is that as footsteps followers of Jesus we are invited to share with him the ignominious experiences, suffering, and death, with the hope that by these experiences, if rightly exercised, we might share with him the glories of the kingdom.

Jesus, who is our Forerunner, was also tested and tried. The Apostle Paul in Hebrews 2:10 states, “For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect [mature] through sufferings.” And again in Hebrews 5:8,9, “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect [mature], He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.”

The Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 12:2,3, states that Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame, and that he endured the contradiction (opposition) of sinners against himself.

Knowing these things, the statement by the Apostle James that we should “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” becomes meaningful. We should appreciate the opportunity that difficult trials and experiences afford us to develop in the Christian graces.

The word patience in our text is the Greek word hupomone, which carries a much deeper meaning than our English word patience. Hupomone signifies constancy, the thought being of an endurance of evil in a cheerful, willing, patient manner. It represents, therefore, an element of character and not merely a temporary condition or restraint of feeling or action.

It is necessary to develop this facet of character because it is one of the conditions that the Heavenly Father has attached to his call to joint heirship in the kingdom. The wisdom of this is evident when we consider the work to which we are called—that of blessing all the families of the earth. The very nature of that great work will require the quality of firmness (constancy) and cheerful endurance of whatever the Lord’s providence may permit. The Apostle Paul’s words in Hebrews 2:18: “For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted,” were expressed for our encouragement. But the same principle will apply in the relationship between the church and the world in the next age.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |