Question: Does God test our faith, and if so, how and why?
Answer: Scripture is full of examples of God testing the type and quality of “faith” that a believer possesses (Deut 13:3, Lk 8:13, Jms 1:3, Prov 17:3, Ecc 3:18, 1Th 2:4).
The Bible states that God regularly tests or proves the faith which we profess as believers (Matt 14:22-33). Why does He do this? Well, just as a master jeweler when presented with a diamond inspects and compares a real diamond with a counterfeit one, or poorly cut diamonds with exquisitely crafted ones, God tests our faith to strengthen it and/or prove its nature and character.
Scripture says His purposes for testing us include:
1. To examine the nature/basis of our faith (Eph 2:8-9, 2 Cor 13:5-6, Heb 11, Jms 2:14)
2.To strengthen us (Jms.1:3)
3.To mature us in Christ (Matt, Jms 1:4)
4.To display His supernatural power and glory (Job 42:1-6, Rom 8:28)
5.To identify area’s of sin and/or worldliness in us (Ps 139:23-24)
6 .To demonstrate the reality of His being, by working in and through us for His Kingdom purposes (Heb 11:1-39)
The most common way God tests our faith is to bring “trials” in our lives. The word for trials in the NT means “trouble,” “difficulty” and/or “disruption”. Trials intrude into our lives, changing or disrupting a period of comfort, stability, peace, happiness or joy that we are experiencing. His purpose (as presented above) is to prove and increase the strength, quality and genuineness of our faith and to display His glory!
So as James tells the weary, bruised and scattered 1st century Christians who were living under severe persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ:
“Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:3-4)
Scripture also challenges professing believers to examine the type and genuineness of the faith they profess (2 Cor 13:5-6). The Bible teaches that there is true faith (Spirit-generated) and false faith (human-works generated). Genuine “saving faith” has identifiable characteristics and will be manifest in the life of a true follower of Jesus Christ (Matt 7:16-20). This is the type of genuine “saving faith” exhibited by the people of faith found in Hebrews chapter 11. It is the distinct, life-transforming faith given by God Himself by His Spirit through His Word (Ezk 36:24-27, Jn 3:1-9, Eph 2:8-9, Rom 10:17).
“…for you have been born again not with seed that is perishable but imperishable, that is through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:22-24)