When I heard what the results of the blood test I didn’t know it at the time, but my faith was about to be tested…
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7
Faith is tested to be refined and strengthened.
The refining and strengthening of faith is meant to bring glory and honor to God.
Job’s faith was tested…
Job was a blameless man, a man of integrity who feared God and stayed away from evil.
One day God asked Satan if he had noticed the integrity of Job. Satan responded that it was no wonder that Job feared God because God put a wall of protection around him and caused him to prosper greatly.
Satan was convinced that if Job lost everything he would no longer fear God. God gave Satan permission to test Job.
When Job lost everything he didn’t curse God, but trusted and worshipped Him.
Now when Satan went back to talk to God, God reminded him that Job still feared Him. Satan said that possessions were one thing, but if his health was affected he would surely curse God.
God gave him permission to touch Job’s health, but didn’t allow Satan to kill Job.
Even when stricken with boils over his entire body, Job continued to trust God.
Job’s friends thought they knew why this happened to Job. They tried to convince him it was because of his sin and that he needed to repent.
After they all took turns trying to convince Job they knew the reasons that he was going through all this loss and pain, Job cried out to God to hear what He had to say. God began to challenge Job, and for several chapters gave example after example of His creative power and might.
God’s answers left Job with this response…
“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” Job 42:2-6
God used what the enemy meant for harm against Job; what was meant to cause him to curse God and die, to get Job’s attention and to show Job His mighty power. When Job heard all God had to say he realized he thought he knew God, but now he had seen Him in ways he had never seen Him before. Job was left sitting in dust and ashes, repenting for his doubt and unbelief.
His repentance was the refining of his faith.
The new revelation of God was the strengthening of his faith.
Though the loss of Job’s children and of all he owned brought much pain and suffering to Job, it wasn’t so much about the external things, or even his health.
God’s purpose for tests is to expose the lies in our hearts and to reveal the truth of who He is.
Going into a test we can say that we have heard of God, but if we trust God and choose to fear Him through the test we will come out the other side having seen God!
Abraham’s faith was tested…
One day God asked Abraham to sacrifice the very fulfillment of His promise; the son that Abraham waited twenty-five years for. The son born from his and Sarah’s “dead” bodies. Now, God was asking him to put to death the very life He promised and brought forth.
“For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.” Romans 4:16-17
Abraham’s faith enabled him to get up early the next day and take his son on a three day journey to mount Moriah.
Abraham’s faith enabled him to climb the mountain with his son, the wood, the fire, and the knife, for the sacrifice.
Abraham’s faith enabled him to answer his son’s question as to where the sacrifice was… “God will provide.”
Abrahams’s faith enabled him to tie his son to the altar, and to raise his hand with the knife over his son’s body.
It didn’t make sense.
It didn’t line up with the promises God already gave him.
What do we do when God tells us to do something that doesn’t make sense?
What do we do with a word from God that seems contradictory to the very promise He gave?
Tests are how our faith is refined. When we hear a word from the Lord and choose to obey; by stepping out in faith when it looks foolish and goes against everything that makes sense…
That’s where we are stripped of ourselves.
Tests strip us of our feelings and emotions that keep us focused on ourselves.
The flesh of our own understanding dies.
Tests kill off our trust in our own thoughts and past experiences that keep us in doubt and unbelief.
Our faith goes beyond the natural realm and relies on the supernatural.
Tests give us the opportunity to believe for what we don’t yet see, and to call forth what doesn’t yet exist.
This is the test of refining that God wants us to pass so that we are in position for our faith to be strengthened.
When Abraham stood with his hand raised, holding the knife above his son’s body, his faith was proved. Abraham passed the test of refining. He didn’t allow his feelings and emotions to keep him focused on his own desires for his son. He didn’t allow his own understanding to cause doubt and unbelief. He looked past the natural realm and believed for the impossible. This refining gave him the faith to be willing to kill the very life God miraculously brought to him, the fulfillment of a twenty-five year promise.
When God saw Abraham’s refined faith, God provided another life, another sacrifice, to replace the one used as a test.
When we pass the test of refined faith we position ourselves for the miraculous.
When our refined faith is proved we experience the miraculous and our faith is made even stronger.