Understanding The Test Of Faith And How We Can Build Perseverance

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Published by Kimberly Wall


Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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As followers of Christ, we often believe that as our faith is challenged, our character grows. This is backed up by Apostle James, who explains, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4).

Hence, we can say that God’s main goal for the whole world is for us to grow and develop spiritual maturity[1]. We are to grow mentally, spiritually, and emotionally because he strengthens our character by testing our faith. But what does a test of faith mean? And how can it transform us?

What Does The Bible Say About The Test Of Faith?

In all this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

— 1 Peter 1:6–7

A test of faith was addressed in John 6, which is the test of one’s own limitations. This was seen in the narrative of “The Feeding of the 5,000.” Jesus saw a great crowd and asked Philip, “Where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” (John 6:5). Philip answered that “it would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

But Simon Peter’s brother spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

Another instance was depicted in Mark 6:48, where Jesus’ followers traveled across the lake. Their boat got stuck in a storm, and they strained on the oars all night. Jesus then went out to them, walking on water. When his disciples were frightened, he told them to take courage and not be terrified.

As evident in the two biblical passages, God will put his children through trials throughout their lives. God allows these trials to produce perseverance (James 1:3) and to ensure our faith remains strong. Everyone in the whole world will be empowered to grow as Christians and resist temptation far better due to these tests.

How Do Trials Test Our Faith?

Our faith is far more precious than mere gold. God will put us through many trials, but they aren’t intended to discourage us. This is an opportunity to show our complete trust and utmost determination in the Lord. Also, imagine the great joy and immense relief you will feel when you get through these trials.

These tests of faith are all about trusting God’s plan and depending on him instead of ourselves. During this severe testing, if we lean on him, he will support us. When we are firm while experiencing adversity and hardship, we’ll grow in perseverance, faith, and character.

How Do You Overcome A Test Of Faith?

To overcome the test of our faith, we must remain committed to Jesus Christ and allow our “roots to grow down into him,” enabling our lives to “be built on him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:7).

Following Christ requires patient endurance and perseverance through time and testing in order for God’s work to be completed in us (read Romans 12:12; John 15:4–10; 2 Peter 1:5–8). Fire tests, if you will.

In line with that, Jesus instructed his Apostles in Luke 21:19 to “stand firm, and you will win life.” Jesus knew they would experience persecution and declared, “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).

loaves of bread in a basket and test of faith

How To Have Faith In The Midst Of Testing

When faced with testing, it’s essential to embrace the process rather than resist it. Acknowledge that challenges are a part of life’s journey and can lead to personal growth. Believe that it’s for the eternal glory of God. This mindset shift is the first step toward having faith in the midst of testing.

It can be difficult to trust the Lord during a test or hardship, but remember that God has planned everything to work out for you to prosper (Romans 8:28). We should stand firmer with God in these dark times.

When things are going well, we sometimes fail to turn our eyes to Jesus and appreciate everything that he did for us. God is saddened to see us weak and have shaky faith; he desires us to be unwavering, steadfast, and strong—he wants us to produce perseverance.

5 Ways God Tests Our Faith

1. The “What” Test

We will face this test many times during our existence. God will instruct us to perform something impossible. God might not ask us to make an ark like Noah, but he will challenge us to pursue “what” he has planned—an impossible ambition or good work, but we must stand firm..

2. The “Where” Test

This test occurs when a massive change occurs in our lives and we are unsure of “where” God is leading us. In the Bible, God commanded Abraham to travel from Ur to a new place without telling him where. And Abraham did what he was told; his faith remained strong.

3. The “When” Test

Now you’re thinking, “When?” When will God answer my prayers? This “testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:3) and enables you to trust God more. In Hebrews 11:9–10, the Bible teaches us that Abraham experienced a similar experience. Abraham built his life on God’s promises rather than explanations.

4. The “Why” Test

At times in life, we suffer a loss that appears to make no sense. A lot of questions may cloud our minds. Let’s put ourselves in Abraham’s position. God commanded Abraham to give up his only son (the heir to the same promise), who was the foundation of all his aspirations to father a nation. He did not understand why God made him offer his son, but he obeyed. Then God gave him another way.

5. The “How” Test

Every Christian faces difficulties in their family or church at some point in their lives. When we look back at them, we appear to feel that they are unsolvable and that we have no idea “how” God wants us to face them.

But when we have complete trust in God, even in the face of impossibility, our faith will develop. Abraham displayed this attitude when God promised him that he was going to have a son. Everyone knows it was impossible for his wife and him to bear a child at 99 years old. But God accomplished the impossible with Sarah’s (and Abraham’s) unwavering faith (Hebrews 11:11).

blue ocean waves and test of faith


It’s easy to stand firm in my beliefs and give God much praise when things are going well and our faith has not been put to the test. However, it can be tough when God appears to be absent when everything appears to be in chaos, crumbling, and falling apart.

When our trust in Christ is strengthened by these challenges, we can confront any circumstance with determination and growing hope. May the Holy Spirit guide us through these trials and bless us with eternal life at the very end.

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