No one likes going through difficult times in life. But even for Christians, those times will come. One reason this is true is because our personal tests help us to grow spiritually.
Here is what the Bible says about that: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV).
According to this verse, “The testing of your faith develops perseverance.” To grasp this point, consider an athlete trying to produce the perseverance needed to endure a marathon. He can accomplish this only by putting his body to the test by going beyond his normal routine. He will never reach his goal if he stays within the confines of a comfortable workout.
Similarly, to help us produce perseverance in our personal lives, it is necessary that we are subjected to personal tests that take us beyond the comfort zone of our life.
The key phrase in the verses above is that “perseverance must finish its work.” In other words, when we are tested we must be willing to endure the rigor of the test until the end—as opposed to whining and wimping out. Of course, the latter reaction is always an option. No one puts a gun to our head and makes us faithfully go through a personal test.
THREE WAYS PERSONAL TESTS HELP YOU TO GROW
When we encounter personal tests, a number of beneficial things happen that oftentimes do not or cannot happen when life is going well for us.
- Personal tests help us to develop perseverance. That is what the epistle of James reveals in the verse quoted above. Perseverance denotes our ability to bear up under a load. It enables us to stand fast as we wait on the Lord.
- Personal tests place a greater demand on our prayer life. We tend to be passive or casual about prayer when all is well in our life. Adversity, on the other hand, promotes intimate prayer. Most if not all of us have been in that place where we were desperate for God and prayed accordingly.
- Personal tests challenge our personal claims of having strong faith in God. Talk is cheap. It is during trials in our life that we learn what we are really made of on the inside. Over time, these intense encounters with life help to make us strong.
Nothing is pleasant about what God is instructing us to do through the abovementioned passage. But note the ultimate objective: “that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” That’s where God wants each of His children to arrive. And He often allows personal tests to try us and to help us to get there.
According to the verses above, God wants us to “count it pure joy” when we face different kinds of trials. But that kind of attitude toward trials in life only belongs to those who are zealous about becoming mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Perhaps as you read this post, you find yourself going through a difficult personal trial in your life. I want you to know that regardless to how you got in the place where you find yourself, it is God’s desire that your personal tests help you to grow in Him.
Frank King is pastor of the English-speaking congregation at the Hinesville Korean Full Gospel Church, 758 Tupelo Trail, Hinesville, GA, 31313.