As a child, I attended school to learn things useful for my future. At the end of a specific amount of learning on a subject, there was given a test to see how successful my learning really was. Throughout the year, there were numerous tests on the things I learned within the same subject. If my test score failed, I had to go back and relearn the subject till I passed the test. Only after reaching the needed scores was I allowed advancement in my lessons and entrance to a different grade level for the next year. Is the Christian life this way as well? Are trials tests?
“The trial of your faith” is a phrase found in 1 Peter, chapter one, which simply means just that. The Greek meaning for the word trial here means testing. The original meaning gives this phrase, “testing of trustworthiness”. Tests are important and even more so in the spiritual life. My experience in walking with God for close to 50 years is that testings are for a purpose. There are a lot of people who have not experienced such testings, and the results are obvious; their lives are shallow and not very effective for the kingdom. But the greater and deeper the spiritual tests one endures, the greater the divine relevance. Christians who have not endured many testings are shallow and filled with noticeable bareness. 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
There are three great and noble virtues that form within a much-tested vessel for God. One is patience and the second is spiritual refinement known as gold tried in the fire. The third one is divine enablement by purity and holiness before God. God will not advance someone into deeper effectiveness without testing their trustworthiness by His fire. I have observed the triviality of many well-meaning Christians, having never accomplished much for God, and there is a notable difference in the solemn spiritual categories of testing in their own lives. These tests are entirely spiritual and do not come as correction to weak attributes. Spiritual testings are not corrections to mistakes; they are refinements in areas of spiritual credibility.
Why do some escape God’s complex virtue of testing? It is mostly lack of surrender of certain principles, these being held against the request of God to place upon His altar. When we are surrendered entirely, we are tested entirely. I find that if all is surrendered, then all is tested and all becomes useful. I understand that many say they have surrendered all, but that which is still esteemed important by them speaks of the lack of spiritual depth under which they have restrained themselves. These are they which are always in need but not aware of their own plight. These well-meaning people are not poor in spirit as might be portrayed in innocence. They understand very little about true heavenly kingdom living but never lack easy answers. Their resources, lying close at the fingertips, are of better ideas and predigested information, but lack deeper flowing rivers from one’s own belly.
Testing is important even if it seems to lack noticeable objective. Our thoughts are not His thoughts, and our ways are not His ways by common nature. This is how He changes us into His own image. The spiritual sequence is seemingly like this: He manifests His will, then requires obedience and tests the relevance. If the tested has passed through the refiner’s purging table of fire, then the gold becomes purer, the intrinsic value is significantly increased, and God will be greatly glorified in due time on the earth. What seemed to us as unfair victimization, now becomes enablement to exercise the Holy Spirit’s power and spiritual authority in ways that most do not comprehend. Passing God’s tests can be very hard and extremely perplexing. I find that His potter’s work is in seasons. I have clearly perceived by experience that He brings me through these seasons about every ten years. Sometimes these seasons last for several years. It has been God’s way of dealing deeper within my life. It might not be this way for others but I do clearly acknowledge that God works in seasons of testings, all for His glory, to refine the power that works within us. Endure, yield, and wait it out. Once you come out of it changed and transformed, you have passed this noble test. Hallelujah!
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: V.13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. V.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.