Understanding Tests & Trials


James 1:1-8, 12-22.

This message deals with unscriptural teaching by the churches on this life and premature death for many Christians.

In order to avoid this needless suffering and be a victorious Christian in all areas of life, there are some things that Christians must understand about temptation, tests, and trials.

Don’t Blame God

(James 1:13)

In defining the word temptation we see that tempted is the same Greek word but it has three basic meanings: “to tempt, to test, and to try.” And another possible meaning of the word tempted is this:
“tempted, tested, and tried” ((W. E. Vine’s Expository of New Testament Words). We will read verse 3 of that same chapter in James, as it would appear with the full Greek meaning: “Knowing this that the trying,
TEMPTING AND TESTING of your faith worketh patience.” What is tempted, tested, and tried?

YOUR Faith: “…that the trying, tempting and testing of your faith…” It is a simple fact that the reason THE ENEMY COMES AGAINST YOU with temptations, test and trials is BECAUSE YOU HAVE FAITH. There
would be no reason for him to come against you. and tempt, test and try you if you didn’t have faith!

It is important for you to recognize this right now. The Word of God says that YOU HAVE THE MEASURE OF THE GOD KIND OF FAITH (see Romans 12:3), and we know that Satan comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). He is coming to steal, and destroy your faith. If Satan can do away with your faith, he can keep you from accomplishing anything for God. He can keep you from blessing anybody, he can keep
you from doing any feats whatsoever, if he can get you to fall into temptations, testings, and trials.

It is interesting to note that in Mark Chapter 4, Satan uses the same methods to choke the Word of God and take it out of the heart of the believer. Here we see Satan using afflictions (hardships, tribulations, troubles, etc.), persecutions, the cares (worry, anxiety, etc.) of this world, deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things (Mark 4:14-20). NOTICE that it does not say that God uses these methods against the believer, but we do see that Satan is our enemy and uses these methods to destroy our faith!

Hebrews 12:5-11 talks about God chastising His children. We see in verse

5 and 9 that God uses His Word to chastise (instruct or train) and to scourge (beat on the inner man). God does not deal with our flesh, He deals with the spins man. God does not use sickness, disease, temptations, tests, or trials to chastise His children – – – HE USES HIS WORD!

Most people have thought that temptations, tests, and trials come to us to build our faith. That doesn’t line up with God’s Word. The Word of God says that the only way you can get faith is by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). When you understand the basic fact that the enemy brings temptations, tests, and trials, against you to destroy your faith, you will know immediately that you need to take a stand against the works (temptations, tests, and trials)
which all come from Satan.

The full Greek translation of verses 1314 says, “let no man say when he is tempted, TESTED, AND TRIED, I am tempted, TESTED AND TRIED of God: for God cannot be tempted, TESTED OR TRIED with evil, neither tempteth, TESTETH OR TRIETH he any man. But every man is tempted, TESTED, AND TRIED, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed.” Again. we see that God is not our problem: but rather it is Satan who is out to destroy the faith of the Christian.

Don’t Confuse Longsuffering With Patience.

Another word that will help tie these things together is the word PATIENCE. In my thinking the word PATIENCE was the same as LONGSUFFERING.

However, according to W. E. Vine’s Expository New Testament Words they are actually two different words with different meanings. So the translators who used the word PATIENCE instead of LONGSUFFERING in
Galatians 5:22 were wrong.

LONGSUFFERING is defined as “that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish. It is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy.”  Longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit. It causes you to bear or put up with things when somebody gets angry at you and you don’t get angry or strike back! That is not patience even though it sounds like patience to you.

PATIENCE is defined as “the quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. It is the opposite of despondency, and is associated with hope.” In other words: he doesn’t give in to the trial. He perseveres, he stands against it and does not receive it. One recent translation does use the word persevere instead of patience in the first chapter of James. You develop perseverance in the trials and testings that come against you: but you are not to give into them.

Ephesians Chapter 6 tells us that flesh and blood or people are not our enemy but rather Satan and his forces. So one of the fruits of the Spirit is to be longsuffering with people and turn the other cheek,
so to speak, and have a spirit of love and forgiveness about us. HOWEVER. when it comes to Satan in James Chapter 1 we do not turn the other cheek – we do not accept what the enemy brings against us, but
rather we resist all of it in the Name of Jesus and walk away victorious!

Ask God for Wisdom

James 1:5-6)

The subject still is temptations, tests, and trials. The Greek word used for wisdom is Sophia which simply means “insight into the true nature of things.” In other words, it is the theoretical way of looking at things, or the broader picture, to learn what is going on or what is happening.

The following is actually what he is telling us in this first chapter of James. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into different TEMPTATIONS, TESTS, AND TRIALS. Knowing that these temptations, tests, and trials are going to work patience or PERSEVERANCE in your life. Now, if you don’t know what is going on: if you don’t know that the TEMPTATIONS, TESTS, AND TRIALS come from the world, the flesh, and the devil; if you don’t know what is happening to you, then you should ask in faith, or wisdom (sophia) so that you can have a broad picture of what is taking place.”

How many times have you walked into a situation where it was just “sticky” and you were questioning yourself, “What is going on here? What am I going to do? How am I going to get out of this situation?”

Well, the Word of God is telling you that if you will ask Him for wisdom (sophia), He will give it to you. He will not leave you hanging in mid-air or in the dark so that you don’t know what is going on. He
will not leave you without the understanding and the knowledge of what to do or how to do it.

But – there is a very important qualification. You have to ask Him in faith. “If any of you lack wisdom (sophia) let him ask of God…But let Him ask in faith” James 1: 5-6a).

You are asking for a broader picture of what is going on. And you may pray like this: “Father, give me an understanding of what is happening here.” You are asking because you are in a test, you are in a teal, you are having difficulties, and you’ve got to get some direction.

Verse 4 says: “But let patience (perseverance) have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” You are not supposed to lack anything, in any area of life. “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.” You should be in a position where Jesus, your shepherd, guides you so perfectly that you don’t have any wants. Jesus is the GOOD SHEPHERD. Another translation says: “Let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.” Glory to God!

Don’t Yield to the Lusts of the Flesh

James 1:14-15)

Most people have a very narrow concept of the definition of LUST. We limit the classification of LUST to sexual things: pornography, sexual deviation, etc. That is partially true, but it has a much broader meaning. LUST IS ANY STRONG DESIRE OF ANY KIND. The desires do not have to be base or immoral. They may be refined in character but are evil if they are inconsistent with the will of God.

Somebody asks, “What is the will of God?” Doing the Word of God! If what you are desiring is inconsistent with God’s Word, then it is evil, and lust is involved: the lusts of the flesh. THE LUST OF THE FLESH IS ALWAYS A SECONDARY PLAN APART FROM THE WORD OF GOD. For example: your flesh will want to overeat when the Word of God says to be moderate in all things, your flesh will want to maintain bad habits
when the Word of God says to live a holy life and sin not. The flesh will want to borrow money when God said He IS our source (borrowing money for things not needed, etc.), the flesh will want you to lie down
and be sick when God has already provided Divine health for all of us!

Stay Single Minded

(James 1:6-8)

Once you ask God in faith for wisdom, He will give it to you, but you have to stick with it. Don’t get to wavering like the waves of the sea. Some Christians ask God in faith for wisdom, and He will tell them
very clearly what to do or how to handle the situation. They start out full of confidence and say, “Thank you, Lord, I know how to handle this situation.” They believe that they are on their way. Then all of a
sudden, things go wrong again. The first thing they say is, “Did I hear the Lord wrong? Did I miss the Lord?” That is the enemy coming against them.

Don’t waver or be led into double-mindedness. Either you heard the Lord or you didn’t, and that verse told you that if you ask in faith, He will give it to you.

This principle of faith holds true any time you ask God for something in faith. You must be single-minded about God, His Word is forever settled in heaven, He is the same yesterday, today and forever
– therefore hold fast to the confession of your faith without wavering for He is faithful who promised!

Count It All Joy: Rejoice!

(lames 1:2)

Once we recognize that the temptations, tests, and trials come from the enemy, then we begin to deal with them at that point. We count it all joy, and we start rejoicing because He delivers us out of every
temptation. test. and trial that Satan brings against us. Paul said, “There hath no temptation, test, or trial taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted, tested, or tried above that ye are able; but will with the temptation, test, or trial also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I cor. 10:13).You can see all the way through the Word of God, He doesn’t deliver us out of only a few temptations, tests, or trials; He delivers us out of all of them! You have to have the Word of God, and you have to know that you can count it all joy. You count it all joy because you know that you are going to be delivered out of all of them because you are standing on the Word of God. The Word of God is everlasting or eternal whereas temptations, tests, and teals are temporal: they only last for a little while
because God is delivering you out of them.

New Testament Test

Now, there is a test that God brings our way in the New Testament. It’s described in two words – faith and obedience.

God does not test us with evil. Our test is to believe God’s Word and to act on it. In other words, if we really believe that God’s Word is true then how come we’re not acting like it?

Another way of describing your test of faith is if sickness on your body, take the Word of God and drive it out of your body, and pass God’s test. Take the Word of God and drive poverty and lack out of your
life and pass the test! Take the Word of God and drive depression out of your life and pass the test!

Our test of faith from God is not an evil test. We pass the test of faith by living in victory through our redemption from all evil through Jesus Christ! Glory to God!