Feeling like your faith is being tested? Unsure if the challenges you face are God’s way of strengthening your spiritual muscles? You’re not alone. Many believers ask this question at various points in their walk with God.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Look at the fruits. If the situation is drawing you closer to God, producing positive change, that’s a sign it may be God testing and refining you. If it’s only tearing you down or causing you to sin, it likely is not from God.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover signs that your struggles are God testing you versus attacks from the enemy, what biblical heroes like Job and Abraham can teach us, as well as practical tips for passing tests of faith.
Clear Signs God is Testing You
Growth in Spiritual Fruit
One clear sign that God may be testing you is growth in spiritual fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). When facing trials, if you exhibit more spiritual fruit, it indicates spiritual maturation.
Difficult seasons refine character, develop perseverance and deepen trust in God. They prune away sin and dependence on worldly things. If trials are revealing spiritual weaknesses, ask God to grow spiritual fruit. Pray for help to pass the test and have your faith strengthened.
Deepened Prayer Life
Another sign of God’s testing is a deepened prayer life. During times of testing, prayer often intensifies as you seek God’s help and comfort. Your heart cries out, you intercede for others undergoing trials, and you pray for strength to endure.
Testing motivates you to passionately seek God’s face (Psalm 27:8). If you find yourself praying more fervently amidst trials, it likely indicates God is testing you. Allow it to drive you to your knees, deepening intimacy with God.
Confirmation From Other Believers
You can also discern God’s testing by confirmation from other mature believers. Fellow Christians can provide guidance, discernment and encouragement during trials (Proverbs 11:14). They can help determine if difficulties are due to spiritual testing versus simply experiencing the brokenness of life.
Other believers may also have prophetic words or spiritual gifts to confirm testing. For example, a timely word of encouragement may confirm God’s testing for growth. Input from the spiritual community helps gain perspective during seasons of hardship.
How to Tell if It’s Spiritual Attack Instead
Leading to Sin or Hopelessness
During challenging times, it’s important to reflect on whether the hardship is leading you towards sin or hopelessness. The enemy often uses difficult circumstances to deceive people into destructive thought patterns and behaviors.
For instance, financial struggles could tempt someone to be dishonest at work or isolated due to depression. Remember that God wants to refine your character through trials, not lure you into the devil’s traps (James 1:13-15).
Pray for wisdom to discern if the suffering is meant for your good or spiritual downfall.
Contradicts God’s Promises
Another sign that you are under spiritual attack is when your circumstances blatantly contradict God’s promises. For example, if you are experiencing fear and anxiety yet God’s Word says He gives peace and courage to His children (Isaiah 41:10), something is not right.
The enemy uses lies and false evidence to make us doubt what God has spoken. Take a step back and ask the Holy Spirit to highlight any unbiblical thinking or toxic emotions. God’s truth will always line up with His Word. His promises never fail (Joshua 23:14).
No Light at the End of the Tunnel
Lastly, a persistent feeling of dread and hopelessness can indicate spiritual warfare. The devil wants us trapped in a maze of negative thinking without any light at the end of the tunnel. God’s testing brings temporary struggle but with promise of future growth and blessing.
Remember that our suffering is “light and momentary compared to the eternal glory” awaiting us (2 Corinthians 4:17). Remain steadfast in prayer and faith, knowing God will redeem your pain for an amazing testimony. “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
You’ll get through this!
Lessons from Biblical Heroes Tested by God
Job – Patience in Suffering
The story of Job in the Old Testament provides an incredible example of remaining faithful and patient through intense suffering. After losing his wealth, health, and children, Job refused to curse God (Job 1:20-22).
Despite his wife and friends encouraging him to give up, Job responded: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10). Through his ordeal, Job understood that his suffering had meaning and purpose.
As James 5:11 states: “You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” Job’s steadfast faith despite enormous suffering provides an inspirational model of patience for believers today.
Abraham – Trust and Obedience
Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac demonstrated remarkable trust and obedience to God (Genesis 22). When God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, Abraham obeyed promptly the next morning even though God had promised his descendants would come through Isaac.
Hebrews 11:17-19 highlights Abraham’s faith: “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’
Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead.” Abraham trusted God so completely that he believed God would find a way to fulfill His promises to Abraham even if it meant raising Isaac from the dead. His example calls believers to radical obedience and trust in God’s plans.
David – Dependence on God
King David’s battles against Saul and Goliath demonstrate radical dependence on God rather than human capabilities. Despite impossible odds, David trusted God would deliver him just as He had delivered Israel from Egypt (1 Samuel 17:37).
David provides an example of focusing on God’s strength rather than human limitations (1 Samuel 17:45-47). Throughout his reign, David inquires of the Lord frequently for guidance rather than relying on his own wisdom (2 Samuel 5:19).
In Psalms, David expresses his longing for God constantly and proclaims his hope in God alone amidst trials. As in Psalm 25:15, David writes, “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.”
David’s life teaches the importance of relying fully on God rather than human means.
Tips for Passing Your Test of Faith
Stay in Scripture
When going through a season of testing, it is vital to anchor yourself in God’s word. As Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active.” Reading the Bible daily keeps your mind fixed on God’s truths and promises. One tip is to memorize key verses about faith.
For example, Isaiah 41:10 reminds us, “So do not fear, for I am with you.” Consider using a daily devotional or reading plan to systematically work through the Bible.
Praise Through the Pain
Even when you do not feel like praising God, make the sacrifice of praise as an act of faith (Hebrews 13:15). Lifting your voice in worship is a weapon against the enemy’s lies that God has abandoned you. Remember the promise in Psalm 22:3 that He inhabits the praises of His people.
Create a playlist of upbeat worship songs for the difficult days. Ask friends to join you in prayer, and have them speak scriptures over your life regarding God’s goodness.
Seek Wise Counsel
Proverbs 11:14 states, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” God often provides direction through other believers. Seek mature Christians who can pray with you and help you view your situation through the lens of God’s sovereignty.
What If I Fail? God’s Grace and Redemption
Failing tests in life can feel devastating. We may feel like failures and that we have let God down. But the good news is that God’s love, grace and redemption are always bigger than our failures. Here are some things to remember when you feel like you have failed God’s test:
God Loves Us Unconditionally
God’s love for us does not depend on our performance. Even when we make mistakes or fail, God still loves us just the same. As Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God’s love is constant and unwavering.
God Can Redeem Our Failures
With God, failure does not have to be final. God can redeem our mistakes and turn them into something good. Consider Peter – he denied knowing Jesus three times, yet went on to be a pillar of the early church. God can take our failures and, through His grace, bring something positive from them.
As Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
God’s Grace Covers Our Sins
When we sin and fall short, God’s grace is there to pick us back up. God does not want us trapped in guilt and shame over our failures. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, He has paid the price for our sins once and for all.
As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God’s grace gives us a clean slate to start over.
Learn and Grow Through Failure
Failures, though difficult, can teach us important lessons. When we fail God’s tests, it can reveal areas we need to grow in. But growth does not come without some growing pains. Try to have an attitude of learning when you fail – ask God to show you what He wants you to learn through the experience.
As James 1:2-4 says, “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.”
While failing God’s tests is discouraging, remember that His love, grace and redemption never fail. Use it as an opportunity to draw closer to Him, knowing He will bring you through it to greater maturity and wholeness. God can work all things, even our failures, for good if we keep trusting in Him.
In closing, knowing definitively if that nagging challenge is a test from God calls for spiritual discernment and a willingness to seek godly wisdom.
If you humbly submit it to the Lord in prayer, He promises to give wisdom and make His will clear (James 1:5). You may fail at times, but take heart – our God specializes in redemption and second chances.