James 1 - Trials

Studying God's word is definitely a passion of mine, and I want to share with you a bit about what I am learning in the book of James right now.

James was Jesus' brother and did not believe Jesus was the promised messiah until after the resurrection.  James was written by James around A.D. 50.  He would go on to be martyred for his faith around A.D. 62.

James opens his book right away talking about trials.

Trials...we all have them. If you're not in one right now, you will be soon. We should not be surprised by them according to 1 Peter 4:12-13.

The most shocking thing to learn about trials is that we are supposed to rejoice in them.


I am not sure about you but rejoicing during a trial is not something that comes natural to me.

Read these verses with me:  "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 and complete, lacking in nothing." -James 1:2-4

 "And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, know that tribulations brings about perseverance; and perseverance proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." -Romans 5:3-5

We are not just supposed to suffer through a trial but we are to find joy in them.  Seems a little twisted to me, but let’s look at it a bit deeper.  

First, when a Christian experiences a trial and the perseverance of that trial produces proven character, what does that mean to you?

This is how I interpret it.  As Christians we are called to be different from this world.  If we experience a trial and we do not show our faith through that trial than what does that say to a person who is not a believer in Christ Jesus?  What good is our faith if it's not shown through a trial?  It feels almost like a testing.  How will you respond when faced with difficulty?  Will you call every person you know and complain for hours on the phone?  Will you sit around and become depressed and have a pity party for yourself asking, "Why me?"  Or will you believe that even though this is really hard, and I mean really hard, that there is a reason for this.  

Second, is that maybe this isn't always going to be about you?  In 2 Corinthians 1:1-12, Paul talks about how we are afflicted so that we can comfort those who are also being afflicted.  

Have you ever met that person who can completely understand what you are going through, that person who legitimately understands your situation?  How about the widow who lost her husband at a young age who can understand when it happens to someone else?  Or the woman who understands you when you say you were the girl sexually abused by your father because she was too.  Or, the parents who have lost a child who then reach out and comfort another couple experiencing the same thing.  Or, the person who has lost a parent and knows the emotions and feelings that you are going through when it happens to you.

What good are our trials if we cannot bring comfort to someone else from them?  

People go through some really hard things; things that I hope to never have to experience.  This world is broken and there are broken people in it who do very awful things.  Death sucks.  End of story. Period!  We will all lose people we love, sometimes expected and sometimes not.  People we love will get cancer, we may get cancer.  Children will be rebellious and leave the faith that you raised them in.  Health issues that have no explanation or reason will happen.  

The question I have asked myself since studying James and trials is how will I respond when faced with the next one?  I call myself a Christian, I attend church most Sundays, and I lead a woman's Bible study, but when I experience a trial and my actions do not show my faith what does that say about my faith?  People are watching me to see how I respond.  What good is a faith that cannot lean into the promises of God during a trial?

I understand that going through a trial does not mean that you will wake up and roll out of bed with a smile on your face.  God knows that I haven't in the past, and will probably will not at times in the future.  But I think I have a new understanding of what the purpose of these trials is for and how my response should be. 

What about you?  What trial are you going through?  How are you responding?  Are you clinging to His promises?  

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." -John 10:10

 "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." -1 John 4:4

 Listen to this song if you have time. It's a good one.



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