Thru the Bible—James

Day 1 of 6 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Why Does God Test Our Faith?

The Epistle of James, one of the earliest New Testament books, was written to the Jews, all twelve tribes scattered abroad. The early church was 100 percent Jewish in those early years.

Although James was Jesus’ half-brother, he never refers to himself as such; instead, he calls himself Jesus’ bondservant—His slave. Perhaps he never boasted about his relationship with Jesus because before the resurrection, James didn’t believe Jesus’ claims to be Messiah. Once he believed, however, he followed the Lord faithfully.

This very practical letter is about what it means to walk by faith, specifically how our good works should characterize our lives. Faith prompted our salvation, but our works are the result of our salvation. God sees our hearts and knows whether we believe or not, but our neighbors next door can only judge by our works. James urges us to act on what we believe—to let God’s Word inform how we live.

“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” he begins. Trouble will come, so don’t think it strange that something terrible is happening to you. Instead, rejoice that God is testing you in this way. Suffering is senseless, and testing is irrational unless they have a good purpose. God assures us there is (see Romans 8:28).

What are some of God’s purposes in these tests of faith?

James urges us to let patience develop us into mature and well-developed Christian. Testing and trials produce that patience, and that patience produces real hope and love in us. We’ll also gain wisdom related to our trials if we ask Him for it.

Rejoice today that you have a Savior who is not only going to save you for heaven—that’s certainly good enough—but who will help you this very day. It doesn’t matter if you are the humblest saint or the poorest person on earth; you are rich in Christ and have something to rejoice over.

James says the person who endures and overcomes this kind of test (sometimes called a “temptation”) yet still believes God is allowing it for a definite reason, this Christian will be awarded “the crown of life.” Testing of any kind tends to create pessimism, bitterness, and cynicism; it’s easy for people to get caught in the “why?” or “why me?” loop. But God tests us to grow our faith and develop our patience, and He has something very specific in mind for the future.

People often blame God for many things for which He is not responsible. Does God tempt you to do evil? James says no. God can’t be tempted with evil, nor does He tempt with evil (vv. 13-14). God tests, He doesn’t tempt. Jesus was tested to prove we have a Savior who could not sin. God cannot be tempted with sin, and God will not tempt you with sin. There is no evil in God. In Him all is goodness, all is light, and all is right (see 1 John 1:5).

From the beginning of time, mankind has blamed God for his own faults and failures, and filth. Remember the Garden of Eden? Adam blamed God for tempting him to sin; then he blamed the woman (whom God gave him), and then she blamed the serpent (see Genesis 3:12-13). But who causes you to sin? You choose it. Who draws you away to do evil? Who makes you yield to evil temptation? God doesn’t. The devil doesn’t. You are responsible. Every person is drawn in our own way to sin.

Test your own heart today. Ask the Lord to show you if there’s anything between Him and you (Psalm 139:23).

Next: What happens when you obey God’s Word?