– James 1:3
I don’t know of a single person who’s never test driven a car before buying it. We all test things every day. We test out new shoes, we test out clothes, or we test out something that we’re going to spend a lot of money on. We test things to make sure they work. In the same way, the testing of our faith doesn’t give God any new information. The testing of our faith shows us how weak or strong our faith is so that we will know, not that God will know (for He already knows!).
The genuineness of our faith is sometimes revealed by trials. In the Parable of the Sower where Jesus said some of the “seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away” (Matthew 13:5-6) revealed that their faith was not real or genuine. Trials can either expose a false convert, or they can reveal that our faith in God is the real thing. And when thorns don’t choke it out, the seed falls “on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:8).
Testing by Fire
The Apostle Peter wrote that “though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6). We must understand “that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). A faith that’s never been tested is a faith that cannot be trusted.
James knew a lot about perseverance and how the connection between our faith and the testing of our faith can bring about perseverance, and this perseverance allows us to endure suffering because we can “believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8b) because it is through faith that we receive from God (Ephesians 2:8-9) “the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9).