A Test of Faith
For many the word “test” brings anxiety. We have so many tests in our lives: math, spelling, driver’s license, swimming, blood, medical … and each comes with a grade or pass/fail result. Either way, we want to pass the tests. The Bible talks a lot about tests, but it is usually regarding a test of our faith.
What does a test of faith look like? Well, it’s not usually a short quiz or a quick check-up, but an experience over a period of time, sometimes for many years. Essentially, a test of faith is continuing to believe even when we cannot see the outcome.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).
Notice the two words, confidence and assurance. Even when we cannot see the outcome, we can have faith. This chapter goes on to give many examples of people who were commended for their faith—imperfect people who nevertheless demonstrated a deep trust in God. One person’s story that always amazes me is Joseph.
Joseph had a dream as a young boy that was from God. We can look back now and see that his dream was prophetic. He was greatly impacted by this dream as he shared it with his entire family. They were not too impressed with the dream because in it they were bowing down to Joseph! Perhaps he should have kept his dream to himself because it fueled the jealousy and hatred from his brothers toward him. Fast forward roughly 40 years later and we see the fulfillment of that dream as his brothers bow down before him, not realizing he had survived being sold into slavery and was now the second in command of all of Egypt.
Joseph’s story of trouble and testing throughout those years serves as an example of faith. Joseph continued to believe God and trust Him even when he was thrown into a pit and later into jail (guiltless of wrongdoing. Joseph passed the test of faith many times throughout his life. Did you notice in Hebrews that Joseph was commended for his faith not so much for what happened in his lifetime but for what would happen long after he was gone.
By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones (Hebrews 11:22).
Joseph had faith at the end of his life that God would eventually take His people from Egypt back to the land God had promised Abraham and his descendants. When He did, Joseph wanted the Israelites to take his bones with them so he could be buried back in his homeland.
God loves faith! When we don’t see the big picture, He does, and He wants us to trust Him! I believe there will be many things in my life and yours that we may never know the outcome. But by faith we can live and die believing God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.
So, what are you facing today that requires faith? Are there health challenges, relationship struggles, financial or emotional strain? Put your faith in God and you’ll keep trusting, keep believing, and live expectantly because that’s what it means to pass the test of faith. And that’s courageous living.
Prayer of Commitment: Father, I place my confidence and faith in You, especially in times of difficulty. I ask for Your assurance and trust You with the outcome.
Unwavering Faith in Trials
If we respond correctly to adversity, God will make us stronger and fill us with joy.
We all go through troubling times, and it’s easy to get disheartened when that happens. But the Bible teaches that even during periods of challenge and adversity, we can respond correctly. Today’s passage tells us to rejoice. This doesn’t mean we’re to be glad about the hardship, but we should rejoice because we’re protected by God for the eternal glory that awaits us in heaven.
Another reason for joy is that trials are designed to produce endurance and spiritual maturity in us (James 1:2-4). God wants us to hang in there so we can derive the full benefit of whatever lesson He has in mind.
Our heavenly Father also uses trials to prove to His children that their faith is genuine (1 Pet. 1:7). When we persevere through each difficulty, our faith is tested and refined, reassuring us of our salvation.
As we learn that God brings benefit from our adversities, we’ll begin to face challenging times with confidence, knowing He always has our best interest in mind. This leads to joy, because we know He is building our endurance, purifying our heart, and making us people with unshakeable trust in Him.
The Joy of Thanks-Living
THE JOY OF THANKS-“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
We’ve arrived at the best time of the year – the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. I just love being with family and friends… enjoying great food, great fellowship, and great football (Go Longhorns!).
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we tend to focus on our blessings and giving thanks for God’s goodness. While that is certainly a good thing, it is not the best thing. The best thing is to turn Thanksgiving into Thanks-living. Regardless of the day or the situation, God wants us to be thankful. Why is that?
1. Thanks-living lets God know you have confidence in Him, no matter how deep the problems or how dire the circumstances. Thanks is faith turned inside out.
2. Thanks-living changes your countenance and disposition. Instead of being down and discouraged, spreading gloom and despair everywhere you go, you begin to radiate the joy of the Lord. The best witnesses for Christ are those who are facing life’s trials with a song of thanksgiving on their lips.
3. Thanks-living opens the door for God to work. God hates it when we grumble and gripe… but He loves it when we praise and give thanks. As we begin to live a life of thankfulness to God, He begins to work, even through the toughest trials and tests of faith. Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison… and they sang a hymn of praise to the Lord. And when they finished singing, the Lord sent a jailhouse rock, and the prison doors were opened. You mark it down: God does miracles on our behalf when we choose to thank Him and praise Him, even in the deepest, darkest pit.
Let me challenge you as I challenge myself. Discipline yourself to give thanks in everything. Thank Him for the mountains … and thank Him for the valleys. He is worthy of all your thanks and praise.
A Prayer You May Need to Pray
Dear God, I hate to say it, but I have been guilty of grumbling and griping about all my problems and trials. I have failed to be thankful and to remember that You are at work in my life, even through all the troubles. Please forgive me, God. I want to be a person who keeps my eyes on You and praises You, no matter what may come my way. So, thank you God for these blessings (name them) and these challenges (name them). I know You are in control of all things. I know You love me and work all things together for my good. I choose to trust You, Lord. Teach me to be a “praiser” who always finds the good… and not a complainer who always finds the bad. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Knowing God – Streams in the Desert – November 15
- 202215 Nov
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living. (2 Corinthians 1:8)
But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God allowed the crisis to close around Jacob on the night when he bowed at Peniel in supplication, to bring him to the place where he could take hold of God as he never would have done; and from that narrow pass of peril, Jacob became enlarged in his faith and knowledge of God, and in the power of a new and victorious life.
God had to compel David, by a long and painful discipline of years, to learn the almighty power and faithfulness of his God, and grow up into the established principles of faith and godliness, which were indispensable for his glorious career as the king of Israel.
Nothing but the extremities in which Paul was constantly placed could ever have taught him, and taught the Church through him, the full meaning of the great promise he so learned to claim, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
And nothing but our trials and perils would ever have led some of us to know Him as we do, to trust Him as we have, and to draw from Him the measures of grace which our very extremities made indispensable.