The book of James was written to Jewish believers that had encountered persecution for their faith. During a recent mediation on the first chapter, eight tests of faith are given to these saints as a means of encouragement, so that they continue to press on.
This writing is in rough draft form, but I believe the Lord will open your understanding as your personal application.
The first test of faith comes through challenges that produce endurance/patience. For faith to be able to stand the test of time, endurance is key. Will we hold on to God, His Word & His promises? Or will we bail?
A second test of faith comes through overcoming doubt. doubt not only undermines faith and can ultimately nullify it, it also creates instability, (i.e. double minded). let’s not ride the roller coaster of commitment
A third test of faith is the battle of pride. As we grow in faith, we need to guard against a egalitarian attitude that puffs up our ego, position and stature. God will not share His glory with any flesh or fleshly person.
A fourth test is the test of temptation. How do we overcome temptation? The same way we overcome sin – we flee from it, we stand on the Word, we protect ourselves from being put unwittingly in a situation that can result in temptation. Paul admonished Timothy to “flee youthful lusts”, there are some temptations we simply need to run from. If we don’t know the Word then we’re susceptible to being drawn away or deterred from fulfilling our destiny in Him. Keep in mind God is NEVER the author of temptation – He only creates and orchestrates LIFE. Temptation comes as a result of some area of our life not being cleansed or open to His Presence.
A fifth test is that of being impetuous. Recall the disciples asking Jesus if they should call for fire to come down out of heaven? God is a merciful God, even when we think He’s slow in judging, we need to keep in mind that He was patient with us. PTL He didn’t judge me as fast I have thought He should judge others. If I take the time to listen to a brother/sister, the Lord can open my understanding as to the why’s and wherefores of their behavior, attitudes and emotions.
A sixth test is deals with any form of immorality; which goes beyond sexual transgression. It includes areas of integrity and character, along with private thoughts that continue to be dwelled on.
A seventh test is the delusion of thinking because we’ve heard and think about faith, that’s all that’s required. “Faith without works is dead”. Since our faith is not derived from ourselves, it comes from God, ours is a living faith that is evidenced by the action it initiates.
An eighth test focuses on our speech, our confession. Not just the faith confessions we declare in the midst of challenges, but the confessions we make carelessly about ourselves, others or life in general. The context of James’ admonition deals specifically with providing care for widows and those unable to provide legitimate care for themselves or families (single parents, orphans, senior saints, home bound, etc.).