27
Jul
15

The Joy of Tests and Trials

James 1:1-4 (NIV)

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

When was the last time you rejoiced in your trials?  When was the last time you celebrated your struggles?  Notice that in verse 1 James does not say, “If you face trials of many kinds.”  No, James says, “…whenever you face trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2, NIV).  In other words, trials and tests of our faith are inevitable.  We will be tested in our faith.  Why should we rejoice in this fact?  It is because there is a greater purpose to our suffering.  When we face the trials of life and the tests of our faith, we learn perseverance.  We learn how to press on through the trials and tests.
I don’t want to minimize our own suffering in 21st century America, but we really can’t understand the tests of faith that James’ audience was experiencing.  He was writing to Jewish Christians who had lost everything.  Like our brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq who have been forced to leave everything because of persecution, so had these Christians in the first century.  They were experiencing intense persecution for their faith.  They knew suffering.  While we do not experience such persecution in America, we do sometimes experience trials and tests of faith.  The testing of our faith helps us grow and mature in our walk with God.  It was never God’s desire that we remain spiritual infants.  Rather, God wants us to be mature in our faith.  The only way that we can grow to maturity is to persevere through the trials and tests of our faith that God allows.
Do not be afraid of trials and tests.  Instead, find the joy in them because when they come, they are teaching you to rely on God’s grace and power to overcome and persevere.
Prayer: Lord God, I have experienced trials and tests in my life.  I thank you for allowing such tests of my faith.  I want to grow to maturity in Jesus.  I don’t want to be a baby Christian anymore.  Test my faith gently until I am able to withstand greater tests.  Restore me when I fail.  Give me strength to overcome.  In all things, may I give thanks to You through Jesus, my Lord.  Amen.
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