What is a trial? In my small group we’ve been studying the book of James. James, as my Pastor would put it, is a man’s man, meat and potatoes kind of book. James gives it to you straight, and he lays it on thick. He doesn’t beat around the bush.
James chapter 1 contains some of my favorite verses. Let’s study…
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
This is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, at least the first part. Count it all joy. Often read and quoted out of context, count it all joy is a challenge we all need to strive for. When you face trials… what is a trial? Verse 3 tells us that a trial is a test. The test’s purpose is to develop our perseverance.
The bible tells us to expect trials. No one said this walk would be easy. The joy in facing a trial is knowing what it’s doing for your spirit man. Every test we face bolsters our faith and makes us stronger, and should make us wiser. The word says that trials come because we live in the world. We live in a fallen, sinful world… we aren’t living in paradise yet, so on this earth we are bound to be tested.
We have two choices when a trial comes our way… persevere and watch our faith, strength, endurance, patience, and many other things rise. Or get angry, upset, rebellious, discouraged, disappointed, weary and defeated.
I don’t know about you, but this economy hasn’t been to kind to my wife and I. But you know what it has done? It has positively affected both of us. We care less about money and material possessions than we ever have. We know that should we lose everything, we still have God and we still have each other. It hasn’t caused us to get money crazy, it’s caused us to have faith for where our money and food and our daily needs are coming from. God is so faithful… He never forgets us. He allows us to go things to build our character!
God’s goal for our lives is maturity. We need to submit to Him in order for Him to accomplish His work more fully in us.
Matthew 5:48 says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The greek translation of the word perfect is our english word “mature” It is also a “constant” word, meaning; to become mature, or becoming mature. This means it is a process. The end goal of the process is the next word – perfect – which is translated “to be mature” In other words it’s saying this:
Constantly work to become mature, therefore, as your heavently Father is already mature.
God wants us to be fully developed, full of character, and steadfast in our faith. In order to do that we need to be tested.
Gold is refined by fire. It’s the heating of the Gold that gives it it’s value. Just like us, it’s the process of trials that give us our value and character.
Next time you find yourself facing a tough situation… maybe you are being tested even now, ask God, “What are you trying to teach me. Why am I allowed to go through this.” Don’t think for a second that God couldn’t just snatch you up out of your circumstance. He is all powerful and fully capable. He is allowing you to face what you are facing so that when you come out of it you are stronger, wiser, and more steadfast in your faith.
God is awesome.