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. James 1:2-3
In 2017, the National Gallery in London sold Da Vinci’s iconic painting “Salvator Mundi,” for $450 million. This is by far the world’s most expensive piece of art ever sold. Yet many appraisers have concluded the painting could be a fake — and worth less than $1,200. According to art scholar Ben Lewis, “The National Gallery in London knowingly misled bidders before the painting’s record-breaking sale in 2017, hiding that a panel of experts did not unanimously deem the work to be authentic, before the experts; 2008 ruling, the painting was valued at $1,175. This is quite a mark-up—from $1,175 to $450 million. All because the painting was not properly authenticated.
Our faith must also be authenticated so our identity as disciples of Jesus Christ can be apparent to the world. The authentication of our faith is done by the Holy Spirit. God often uses the trials of many kinds to authenticate our faith. It is in times of trial we are made to decide if we are going to trust God or not.
In today’s text, James tells the saints, consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Going through trials may not feel like a joyous occasion, however, our trials can draw us closer to God who will pour His strength in our weakness. God’s grace overflows the heart of those who trust in Him in their affliction. The joy that James talks about comes while going through a trial and after we come out of a trial. Indeed, while going through a trial we rejoice in experiencing God’s sustaining grace, knowing that He will work everything out for our good. After the trial, we rejoice in sharing our testimony so others can hear about the greatness of our God.
Our faith in God’s healing power can only be authenticated when we go through sickness. In the same way, our faith in God as the supplier of our needs is authenticated when we have a need. Another way of saying this is: there cannot be triumph without trials, or victory without a valley experience, or comfort without sorrow.
If we do not face trials of many kinds we can be operating with counterfeit faith. That is a faith that is not authenticated by the Holy Spirit. When Paul struggled with a thorn on his side, he learned about the sufficiency of God’s grace. While journeying to Rome and facing imminent destruction, he learned about God’s keeping power.
Though faith cannot be measured, it can be authenticated. James teaches us that such authentication is evident through our works as well as through our service to the kingdom of God. The power of an authenticated faith is mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. Only with an authenticated faith can we bind demonic spirits and wage spiritual warfare against the kingdom of darkness. In acts 20:7-12, Paul raised a young man named Eutychus from the dead in Troas because he had an authenticated faith.
Let us find the courage to rejoice whenever we face trials of many kinds because we know that our faith is being authenticated for greater works so we can bring glory and honor to Almighty God. During this pandemic, people are looking for believers that have been battle-tested to help them go through their afflictions. God is raising an army of spiritual soldiers with authenticated faith to help those in hospitals, homeless shelters, the unemployed and the oppressed, the mentally depressed, and the disenfranchised. Are you up to the challenge?
Question for Personal Reflection
How is God calling you to use your authenticated faith?
Prayer- Precious Lord, please help me to trust in you when you have authenticated my faith through trials of many kinds.