”Consider it all JOY, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, KNOWING that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And LET endurance
have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom let him ASK of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”- James 1:2-5
What a great blessing you have as a child of God- through repentance towards God and faith in CHRIST JESUS – YOU HAVE BEEN GRANTED THE PRIVILEGE TO PRAY…and the Lord God produces Confidence in HIS Children the more we learn of Him through His WORD by His Spirit to …pray
Let’s be honest….T-R-I-A-L-S!!!… don’t you just hate them? They come at the most inconvenient times, linger around longer than you want them to, frustrate, irritate, depress, make you mad, wish you could change them or hand in your resignation from them, but they keep coming and coming. Can’t outgrow them, cant hide from them, cant keep away from them….is there any use for them? Do we really need them? What is going on with them? Is it not possible to just read about them, do we have to go through them and if so what is God doing with them?
If your like me, I would rather read about them, sleep through them take a pill and be inoculated to them rather than have them. But God in His infinite wisdom has decided we need them to help mature and conform us to His image.
T-R-I-A-LS. Even the mention of the word wants to make me run the opposite way. Or at best have a choice and a say in which ones I have to go through. But God never asks me which ones I would like to pass through. He just brings them …and brings them… and as far as I can tell keep’s bringing them to us. I have often felt like the missionary in France who while riding a train
through a dark tunnel said he felt like pulling the emergency brake so he could get off. -With the psalmist you may cry “how long O Lord , How long?” Three times he cried out. Sometimes it is not the trial itself s much as the length of it that seems to weary us. “Enough Lord.” Perhaps you have felt like this too, at times.
Well what is God doing? Can we know or are we just victims of circumstances beyond our control? Hoping that the wave of circumstances , that seem to toss us like the waves of the troubled sea, may soon stop and calm down and all will be well as we attempt to hold on for dear life. Is there any purpose to these trials that come on us so often unexpectedly at times when we are not ready, waiting or wanting them. Is there any sense to them? Consider with me
James chapter 1…for some answers….
James the half brother of the Lord writes.“…when you encounter various trials…” Note the word “WHEN” not “IF” but “when.” Dear friend if you are not in the middle of one, or have just come from one, you can be sure there is one on the way, specifically designed for you! The word “encounter” is used in the story of the Good Samaritan, when the man was “suddenly” jumped upon by robbers and left for dead.. Suddenly, unexpectedly, with out any prior warning, it happened! This is the thought behind the word “encounter”. No warning they just come from nowhere it seems, T-R-I-A-L-S! The unexpected phone call in the middle of the night that some one near and dear to you is ill, the child that has been on drugs you find out about, the spouse who has told you of their desire to leave you. The dr.’s news of a serious illness. From nowhere they seem to pounce and like a full blow to the body knock the wind out of you. True, not all are as severe as what I have mentioned, some are more severe, some less. What may seem like child’s play to one individual may not be so to another. Is there a purpose? Does God care? Questions that arise in the mind. Can anyone tell me what is going on in my T-R-I-A-L?
Well, beloved let us look at the Scripture and see if we can make sense out of these unwanted, misunderstood visitors who sap the energy out of us and like a wrestler often overthrow and pin us to the floor of despair it seems. Come with me and let us consider “God’s purpose in your Trials….”
From James chapter 1:3 – we can see several things God is doing in our trials.
LET US CONSIDER 6 THINGS GOD IS DOING IN YOUR TRIALS
1. GOD IS DEVELOPING YOUR FAITH;
verse 3 “…BECAUSE YOU KNOW that the TESTING OF YOUR FAITH…”
“The testing of your faith.” The testing” speaks of “approval”. The word testing speaks of “approving, proving” It speaks of the Genuineness or validity of something. In days of old when a prospector would find gold, or what he thought was gold he would bring it to an assayer and have it examined… if it was “approved”, that is to say , genuine then the man would rejoice as he had a whole mine like that. The assayer would authorize the gold as “Genuine.” One blessing of trials is it reveals the genuineness of saving faith!
Abraham was Tested- Genesis 22; Job was tested- Job 1; Israel was Tested- Deut 8:2; The Disciples were tested- John 6:1-6… God not only was affording opportunity to DEVELOP their Faith but was DISPLAYING the Genuineness of their faith. He said to satan “HAVE YOU CONSIDERED MY servant Job?” Job never knew “why?” but God Did!
ONE OTHER KEY point in TESTINGS AND TRIALS is that they are NOT for GOD TO find out what we are Like. He is OMNISCIENT- HE KNOWS EVERYTHING INTIMATELY- Heb 4:13; Psalm 139:7
They are for our Benefit to see what is in our hearts- Deut 8:2″…to TEST You IN ORDER TO KNOW what was in YOUR HEART, …”
2. GOD IS DEVELOPING YOUR ENDURANCE.
VERSE 2 ” You KNOW that the Testing of your faith DEVELOPS PERSEVERANCE…”
I am sure you have seen the TV add for the “energizer bunny” that “keeps going and going and going,” A great ad. Well God desires to enable us, empower us to continue on and not to give up in life, but it is not merely “gritting your teeth” but to do so triumphantly!!
In Hebrews 10 the writer tells them they have need of endurance…Hebrews 12 he tells them to run with endurance. And how is endurance developed? Through our trials. Just as a gymnasium’s purpose when used, is to develop muscle and strength, so God uses trials of all shapes and sizes to develop our perseverance that we too may keep going and going and going…
The Genuineness of your faith through trials is STRENGTHENED. God uses trials to build the muscles of your faith.
3. GOD IS MATURING YOU.
VERSE 4 “…perseverance must finish its work SO THAT you may be MATURE.”
The Goal of Christianity is not only to Know Him but to be like Him. A sculptor on one occasion was dragging a big boulder into his studio. Someone asked what he was doing? He replied” there is an angel in there waiting to escape.” So he proceeded to use his tool to chip away at the Boulder at everything that did not look like an angel.
God uses trials and also suffering according to1 Peter 5:10 to mature us and fulfill His Goal for us to become conformed to the image of His Son. Col 1:28; Rom 8:29. He uses trials as tools to conform you to His image in your thinking and character. Often bringing to the surface those things which are not like Him.
He is not out to DESTROY you BUT TO DEVELOP YOU. And this He does through trials as one tool for His glory and your conformity to the likeness of His Son.
“Today’s Trials are tomorrow’s Testimonies” I once heard some one say and how true, that potentially is. God reveals the genuineness of saving faith through trials and strengthens the faith of His people through trials. The ultimate goal of perseverance is to Mature you and me..
- TO MAKE US MORE LIKE THE LORD JESUS IN
A. OUR THINKING- Phil 2:5-; Rom 12:2; Eph 4:25
B. OUR SPEAKING; to be Gracious, Loving and Truthful- John 1:14;
OUR MOTIVATIONS – JOHN 4:34 “MY FOOD IS TO DO THE WILL OF HIM WHO SENT ME AND TO FINISH THE WORK.”- 1 COR 10:31
4. GOD IS REVEALING INADEQUACIES:
VERSE 5 – “If anyone LACKS…” The point being in a trial we see our need and deficiency… How often like Peter… we have made great professions of faith, “I will die with you, I will go to prison with you” What great allegiance, what great devotion, Peter’s words to the Lord…yet when the pressure came Peter was…gone…fled the scene… and took comfort in following the Lord from a distance…fearful of being identified with Him…
Trials can often reveal our own inadequacies and insufficiencies and at times reveal to us what or whom we are really depending on. Like the young executive several weeks after he had lost a well paying job confided to a friend of mine, he had been trusting in that pay packet rather than the Lord. Trials have a way of revealing the raw emotions of our true dependency. But our inadaqacies are not to leave us with ourselves and lead to despair But to lead us to Him and leave us with him and receive form Him. in this context wisdom for our trial!
5. GOD IS AFFORDING YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO DRAW CLOSE TO HIM.
Verse 5 “LET HIM ASK OF GOD.”
Have you ever noticed it is often in trials that your Prayer life just seems to Bloom!!! You seem to cut to the chase with the Lord and get straight to the point …”H-E-L-P!!!”
Other things begin to take their rightful place in light of eternity. The sickness of a child can tend to bring things into REAL perspective, what difference does it make what color the carpet is, what you drive or don’t drive, what people think about you… the tendency is to become FOCUSED!!!
You find yourself praying….sometimes … on your knees… other times …on your face…praying when you drive…praying when you work…praying in the shower…. praying during the night…as a matter of fact you find yourself “praying without ceasing”. You are, it seems in a constant attitude of prayer, Drawing closer to God than before the trial even?
6. GOD IS DESIROUS TO DEVELOP A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU.
VERSE 5 -“…who GIVES to all men….” Oh how our Lord not only desires to answer prayer, delights to but does so. And isn’t it often out of great anguish of soul we know His comfort, care and closeness? -2 Cor 1:3-4 As He makes Himself a reality to us through answering prayers and in particular imparting wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to take His Word and apply it to our circumstances so we may not miss the opportunity to Honor Him and grow in our trials.
THREE TRUTHS TO KEEP IN MIND when you encounter a TRIAL
1. It is for your good- Deut 8:16
Through Trials He reveals the genuineness of saving faith which produces endurance, strengthening to continue on triumphantly and He matures us through the trial’s as we respond according to His Word…
2. Trust Him- John 6:6
“He Himself knew what He was going to do”. Jesus knew He would feed the thousands , but He had tested His disciples on how to feed the multitudes. They did what we often do, we look at the resources, what it would cost, and operate as though He does not exist and come to conclusions – it is impossible. When we come to Him we find “He Himself” knows what he is going to do. So we must look to Him.
3. Your not alone.- 2 Cor 12:9
His Grace is Sufficient for you in the trial to Glorify Him. “No temptation has Overtaken you but such as is common to man. God is Faithful , who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able and with the temptation will provide the way of escape.” You do not have to SIN in the time of Testing. God will enable you to go through it, not somehow but triumphantly as you understand Gods Perspective in your trial is to put on display the Genuineness of Saving Faith which Strengthens and Mature you.
PERSPECTIVE ON YOUR TRIAL’S
True none of us like going through trials, me particularly…. but through them all, they afford me the opportunity to have my faith developed, my endurance strengthened, my life conformed to Him, my self sufficiency exposed, my focus adjusted and the preciousness of Himself my joy and comfort… No, I DON’T like Trials… still would rather read about them in SOMEONE else’s life… but I am coming to realize that in them God is not out to destroy me but to develop me and draw me closer to Himself who has ordained my trial for my good and His glory….Trials are not my enemy but are to be embraced and understood from Gods perspective.
The Reason we often H-A-T-E Trials is because in the past we have FOCUSED on what they mean to me rather than What GLORY He can receive from them and how He may use them to Mature me…
TODAY’S TRIALS ARE TOMORROWS TESTIMONIES
Genesis 22- We read of Abraham; Job 1 we read of Job… we read that their “Today’s Trials are Tomorrow’s Testimonies” And be honest have you not at times received encouragement, comfort as you have read through the Lord’s servants in their perspective trials. You too can be Gods instrument to encourage others through your testimony as a result of Today’s Trial…as you
realize the Maturing Work God is seeking to accomplish through them… Remember… they are for His Glory … Your good… Trust Him…Your Not Alone…
You are loved DEAR PRECIOUS ONE. Life can be hard, trials can be traumatic, God knows your pain and sees your struggle- and He does care for you- 1 Peter 5:7 and wants you to cast your cares upon Him. God is at work and you are being developed and remember dear one, Underneath are the everlasting arms of His Love
God bless and encourage you,