"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold." (1 Peter 1:7a NLT)
The Bible repeatedly says that God has promised to meet your needs: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19 NIV).
But the Bible also tells us that with every promise there is a condition. One of the conditions for this promise is that you have to trust him. The more you trust God, the more God is able to meet needs in your life.
So, how can you learn to trust God more so he can meet all of your needs? How can you learn to have greater faith?
You don’t get faith by sitting in a Bible study group or just talking about it. Faith is like a muscle; it develops by being used. The more you use your faith, the more it gets stretched. And the more it gets stretched, the more God is able to bless your life.
We call the circumstances that God creates to stretch our faith "trials": "These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold" (1 Peter 1:7a NLT).
There are four common trials that God uses to test our faith, and, chances are, you’re in one of these tests right now. When you go through them, you can know that it is an opportunity for you to develop your faith so you can trust God more. I'll talk about the first two today and the next two tomorrow.
The Pressure Test
The pressure test asks the question, “How will you handle stress?" Will you depend on yourself, or will you depend on God? Psalm 50:15 says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me" (NIV). Do you turn to God when you're in trouble and not to other things?
The People Test
God often uses people in your life to test and stretch and develop your faith. This test asks the question, “How will you handle disappointment?” Life is often disappointing. Careers, marriages, and even plans don’t turn out the way we planned them. But the most disappointing thing in life is people. Why? We get disappointed by people because we expect them to meet a need that only God himself can meet. This is a test!
Your problem is not the people in your life. Your problem is your response to the people in your life. People are not the problem, and they’re not the answer to the problem, either. The answer is God. When you expect other people to be your savior, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence” (NLT). What happens if you trust in the Lord? Look at God’s promise in Isaiah 49:23: “Those who hope in me will not be disappointed” (NIV).
Talk It Over
Which of these tests is God using in your life right now to stretch your faith?
How will you choose to respond to the stress and people in your life that are testing your faith?