21 They preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples and encouraging them to continue in the faith. “We must endure many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. -Acts 14:21-22 BSB
Paul and Barnabas understood that as believers in Jesus Christ, they had to go through many sufferings and trials before making it to the kingdom of heaven. That is the reason why they warned their brothers by encouraging them not to lose heart when they face difficulties and many challenges but to keep on believing and trusting in Christ that what they would go through was His will, which has a purpose for their spiritual lives. Psalm chapter 66 will shed more light on why the Lord sends us to go through hardships.
10 For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us like silver. 11 You led us into the net; You laid burdens on our backs. 12 You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us into abundance. -Psalm 66:10-12 BSB
Testing is a way for us to learn how weak or how strong our faith is in Jesus Christ. The testing that the Lord has for us is to help us determine what area we need to work on when it comes to our faith to make it stronger. For the Lord, the saints are a precious stone in His sight but to get that shine on us, He has to throw us into the fire. In other words, for the Lord to make our faith shine (a faith that trusts more in Him), He needs to hurl us into the fire of tribulation, for there’s no other way to strengthen a person’s faith. What would be the result after coming out of the trials and tribulations? For that answer, we need to go to James chapter 1.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:2-4 BSB
According to James, trials build up one’s faith so much that nothing can make a believer abandon the Lord, no matter how difficult the circumstance is. See also Romans 8:35.
A mature believer means that he or she will know the Scriptures more accurately, sin much less, and trust more in the Lord.
An immature believer means that he or she will not know the Scriptures as much, will fall into sin more frequently, and will trust in the Lord much less.
Whatever you are going through today, know that the Lord has a purpose and a plan for you. Hold on to your faith and keep moving forward. Deliverance is coming.