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In 1 Sam 17:38-39, when David was preparing to fight Goliath, he said, “I have not proved them,” speaking of Saul’s armor. David assayed to go, meaning he was attempting to go with Saul’s armor but he hadn’t proved it. He hadn’t learned how to use it; he didn’t have any experience in it. So, he couldn’t use it. He couldn’t fight Goliath with it.
Likewise, we have the whole armor of God, but we need to prove it. One piece of armor that really gets tried is the shield of faith. Our shield of faith is a major component of the armor of God. With it we quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, Eph 6:16.
In Jas 1:2-3, we see that the faith of the twelve tribes scattered abroad is being tried; it’s being put to the test. And our faith is going to be put to the test. Not only is our faith ‘going’ to be tried; but it ‘must’ be tried. It’s armor and we have to prove it.
The trying of your faith:
Is accomplished by temptation. David would have proved his armor with training and practice in military exercises. Our faith is tried by temptations. This helps us to understand something about the “stuff” that we go through. You fall into temptation. It’s like a pit or a hole that you fall into unexpectedly. You can’t see it coming.
Don’t think this is strange. We all go through temptations. These things are common among Christians. The temptations are not due to your weak faith, but they will reveal weaknesses in your faith. These temptations are to prove you so that your faith can be strengthened.
Notice that these are “divers temptations.” They come in all kinds of ways. You get through one and you think, “I’ve got it.” And then here comes another one. And you think, “No I don’t.”
We have eternal life. We’re living it today. You experience trials and temptations. You live through this life. You experience trials so you can love the victories. You live through temptations so you can learn and grow and so you can experience God’s presence and grace. In times of trial, you can see the fruit of the Spirit manifested in the midst of the trial.
Worketh patience. That’s the goal. You don’t want to get stuck in this trial. You don’t want to quit moving out of fear. Don’t look for a juniper tree where you can just curl up and die. The temptation is not there to stop you. And, yet, you don’t want to rush the lesson, either. You’ll hurt yourself like a puppy trying to run with his foot caught in the kennel. You’re learning “patience.” In Job’s trial, that’s what he learned, Jas 5:11. And that’s where and when you find the joy, Jas 1:2.
Conclusion: James said, “Knowing this.” And now you know it. You know that when your faith is tried, it works, and you can count it all joy. What you have just heard may get you through the trial through which you are now going. Or it may help you get through a trial you will soon encounter. I pray this is so.