Our Christian journey requires constant growth to develop and mature in the things of God. The word is referred to as food and meat to nourish our spirits in order for us to develop strength and maturity. Paul makes reference to our spirit man being renewed (re-established or revived) daily (2 Corinthians 4:16). One of the ways in which life forces us to grow is through tests. James encouraged us to be joyful when we experience various kinds of trials. “Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]” (James 1:3).
James’s analysis is that when our faith is tested, that it produces endurance which leads to inner peace. How can being tested lead to inner peace? Life will never be without trials and tests, so it is not that we will cease being tested, but that the tests won’t cause us as much distress. Being tested is often an indicator of an area where we need to grow. Once we have accomplished growth in an area, we are likely to cease being tested in that way. Viewing tests and trials from a vantage point of an opportunity for growth will make them more tolerable.
We grow through study and ongoing preparation. The word provides guidance and like an exam, we never approach a test unprepared. How are we staying prepared for the tests of life? Study the word, remain constant in prayer and rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit. In what ways are tests indicating to you that you need to grow and what steps are you taking to grow and make progress?
“Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).