Test of Faith
by Tom Brown
I recently went to the hospital to visit one of
my parishioners, a dear lady who had been going through many,
many trials. It just seemed liked everything that could go wrong
in her life did. A few months ago she was injured on her job; not
long afterwards her house was burglarized; and now she was in a
major auto accident, bruised all over.
My heart went out to her. And in my compassion
the Lord caused to rise up in my spirit a scripture, Psalm 34:19.
And as I quoted this verse to her, "Many are the afflictions
of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them
all," she broke down in tears. This word from God truly
ministered to her.
As the tears streamed down her cheeks, I
thought to myself, "How many sincere, dedicated believers
are going through many trials, thinking that God has forsaken
them or perhaps blaming themselves for their problems."
After all, this woman had done nothing wrong. The accident was
the other driver's fault, yet she was the one suffering.
Yes, many problems we go through are brought on
by our own actions. Speeding tickets. Obesity. Gambling loses.
These and other such things, happen because of our own actions.
However, many of the problems of life are not any human being's
Psalm 34:19 is clear: "Many are the
afflictions of the righteous..." It didn't say, "Many
are the afflictions of the sinner." NO! Even the righteous
may undergo many trials--ask Job! Troubles and afflictions are a
normal part of the Christian' life, but we don't have to be
defeated by them.
For some reason we have thought that the life
of faith is a life free from troubles. Instead, the life of faith
is a life overcoming troubles.
We faith people love quoting 1 John 5:4:
"...This is the victory that has overcome the world, even
our faith." What is it that brings us victory? Our faith!
Faith brings us victory. But remember that with every victory,
there has to be a battle.
Some people have thought that the victorious
faith life is a life without battles. But this is not true.
Victory assumes that there was a battle. You can't say "I
won" when you didn't have an opponent.
You may recently have become a Christian and
are living by the faith message, standing on the promises of God.
And now it seems as though all hell has broken out against
you--sickness has constantly been plaguing you, finances have
been scarce, your family is fighting life cats and dogs. Nothing
good is happening to you. Why?!
All these problems may be happening to you
because the devil is attacking your faith. Since you decided to
live by faith, you're a threat to Satan and his kingdom. He's
afraid of your faith. As long as you stayed in your dead church
and refused to act on the Word of God, you were no threat to
Satan. Now that you've been born again, you're in a war with him.
Paul affirms the Christian battle: "...We must go through
much tribulation to enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
The kingdom of God represents the benefits of Calvary--all that
Jesus paid for by suffering and dying on the cross: our
forgiveness, our healing, our prosperity, our victory over sin
and the devil, etc...
It is not strange that we must go through much
tribulation to enter the blessings of Calvary, because we have an
enemy who's trying to keep us from entering the promises of God.
THE TESTING OF YOUR
The Bible calls trials and tribulations
"the testing of our faith" ( 1 Peter 1:7 and James
1:3). Trials are meant to test your FAITH. With that thought in
mind, look carefully at 1 Peter 5:8-9: "...Your enemy the
devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to
devour. RESIST HIM, standing firm in faith..." You are not
to embrace the devil; you are to resist him. Resisting him is the
same as resisting his works. What are his works? Keep reading 1
Peter 5:9: "Resist him, standing firm in faith, because you
know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the
same kind of sufferings." The works of the devil are
The devil brought all kinds of sufferings to
the early church, and he is still brings suffering to many
faithful believers today. Unfortunately, many Christians think
they are supposed to embrace suffering, because they think it is
Suffering does not come from God--it comes from
the devil. To "resist the devil" means to resist
suffering. You are not to embrace or accept suffering; you are to
You resist suffering by "STANDING FIRM IN
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:16 that faith
is a shield...a shield that protects us from the arrows of the
enemy. You are supposed to put up the shield of faith so that the
devil's arrows (sickness, poverty, problems) don't pierce you,
thus sticking with you. God wants you to get rid of your trials.
Trials may come, but they are not to stay!
Notice again the entire scripture in Psalm
34:19: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous..."
Don't stop here. Keep reading! "BUT THE LORD DELIVERETH HIM
OUT OF THEM ALL." This means that troubles should not stay
in our life; they should leave! If troubles stay, then you're not
Remember what the Lord said to His disciples:
"...In this world you will have tribulation, BUT BE OF GOOD
CHEER: I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD" (John 16:33). We are world
overcomers, not world "copers" putting up with our
problems. Trials, troubles and tribulations will come, but we are
to WIN by resisting these things. Our faith can overcome!
But if you think that troubles and trial
automatically make you stronger, then you are sorely deceived.
Trials come to test your faith. This means that trials BATTLE
your faith. And if your faith is not fighting back, you are not
If your not winning, you're not becoming
stronger. God wants us to become stronger by resisting the devil
who sent the trial.
Many sincere Christians don't resist trials,
because they have been taught that trials automatically make them
stronger. They don't realize that trials are the testing of their
faith, and that a test can be passed or flunked. You pass the
test of faith by OVERCOMING each trial, not by keeping the trial!
If your faith doesn't get rid of the trial, then you've failed
the test. God permits trials to come so that you will have the
opportunity to exercise your faith, thereby becoming stronger.
A trial can be compared to a weight barbell.
Imagine yourself lying on your back and having a heavy barbell
placed on your chest. Do you become strong by allowing it to stay
on your chest? No! You become strong when you push it up and away
Your faith works the same way as your arms.
Your faith becomes stronger when you push the trial away from
you, not when you allow the trial to stay on you.
So in the end, trials can be beneficial. This
is why we can count it pure joy when we face trials of many
kinds--because the testing of our faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that we will be mature and
complete, not lacking any good thing--when that happens, the
trial has ended!
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