The Explanation of Trials.
1st, To Prove Your Faith. “For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:3, ESV). The noun, “testing,” is from dokimion—“genuine, without alloy” (BAGD); “‘to try to determine the genuineness of, testing.’” (Louw-Nida). Peter uses the same word, dokimion, in 1 Pet. 1:7—“that the genuineness [dokimion] of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (NKJV). Trials prove whether your faith in Christ is genuine.
Remember the parable of the soil? (Matt. 18) There are 4 kinds of soil, representing 4 kinds of hearts. But of the 4, 3 kinds of hearts do not have genuine faith. One is the road side soil. When the seed of God’s Word fell on the road side, the birds came and took it. The roadside soil represents those hearts who hear the Gospel. But they don’t understand the Gospel. Satan, represented by the birds, soon comes and snatches it away from their hearts. Their faith was never genuine in the first place. Are you this kind of soil? I hope that when you hear the Word of God, you understand it by faith.
Another kind of soil is the rocky soil. When the seed of the Word fell on rocky soil, it grew immediately, for it had no depth of earth. But when the sun came up, the plant died. It had no roots, no depth in the soil. Many hear the Gospel and receive it emotionally “with joy” (Matt. 18:20, NKJV). Some cry, some laugh, some fall down. But it is not rooted deep in the soil. Having no roots, it endures for a little while. When troubles and persecution come because of the Word, they soon stop following Jesus. Their faith also is not genuine. Are you this kind of soil? I hope that when you hear the Gospel, it will take root in your heart. When trials and troubles come, a rooted faith continues to follow Jesus.
There is also the thorny soil. When the seed of the Word fell on thorny soil, it grew a little. But the thorns came. They choked the plant. It died. People today hear the Gospel. But the thorns grow around their hearts. The thorns represent the cares of this world and the love of money. Because they love this world and money more than Christ, they stop following Jesus. Again, their faith is not genuine. Are you this kind of soil? You love money more than God. You love the things of this world more than Christ. And you stop following Jesus.
Trials prove whether your faith in Christ is genuine or not. When you find yourself enduring in Christ when things go from bad to worse, then rejoice!! Rejoice because you know that that your faith in Him is true and growing!