It has been said that you are either in a trial, exiting out of a trial, or entering into a trial...you just aren’t aware of it yet. We can either whine and complain when trials come or learn to become the men and women God wants us to be. We aren’t the first ones in history to ever face trials. Trials are part of the DNA of the church.
When you look at how the church began, it was flooded with trials, especially the early church in Jerusalem. Their pastor, James, the half-brother of Jesus, encouraged his congregation to look at trials not as torture but as an opportunity to learn and grow.
James knew that trials are not an option for the Christian. They will come in all shapes and sizes (v. 2). Like a baseball pitcher, some come in like a rocketed fastball. You hardly see them coming, and they set you back on your heels. Others are curveballs where you expect one thing, but it turns out to be completely different. James uses the word “testing” to denote a positive event intended to make our faith authentic and genuine (v. 3).
Our testing results in perseverance, or steadfastness. The Christian faith is not a sprint; it is a marathon. James wants his readers to run to spiritual maturity (v. 4). Sometimes Christians get distracted, thinking that Christianity’s goal is merely to learn more about the Bible. While knowing the Bible is extremely important, this knowledge alone does not equal spiritual maturity. A few verses later, James writes, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (v. 22). As a leader, are you willing to reflect on and learn from your trials?
>> No one wants to go through trials. But, as James teaches, these trials can help us grow in spiritual maturity. If you are going through a difficult time, ask God for wisdom (v. 5) to grow in your faith and learn from this experience.
Thank You for trials that test and mature our faith and ground us in truth. Build our faith to remain strong, even when we don’t understand what You’re doing or why. In every way, let our life glorify You.