What is a TRIAL?
The bible uses a word for “Trial” that means:
“an experiment, an attempt, a proving”
An experiment of what, though? An attempt at what? We’ll see that later on.
How do we react to TRIAL?
Humanity responds to trials in one of two ways:
1. We either turn on God
2. Or we turn to God
In James 1.12-15 we read:
12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
When you go through hard times or trials, one of the natural responses is to get angry at some point. And anger always seeks to blame something or someone. Look at verse 13 – in hard times we tend to blame God by saying things like:
- Why isn’t God fixing this?
- Why did God let this happen?
- Where was God when my family fell apart?
- Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?
- If God has a plan why does my life suck?
Don’t blame God for what Satan and evil men do.
Bad things happen because bad people exist.
Bad things happen because we make bad choices.
And when you are exhausted you are more prone to infection or disease. The same is true that when you experience trial you are more prone to temptation, because it’s easier to self-injure or self-medicate than to seek God’s will and God’s glory when things are hard.
Temptation is a process. Perhaps the greatest temptation during a trial is to give up on God. But there’s another way we can respond when we face trials of many kinds:
What’s It Like To Turn To God?
In James 1.2-4 we read:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Whoa whoa whoa…did that just say be happy when you go through hard times? I can’t comprehend that. I can’t fake a smile in the morning just like I can’t fake my joy in trial. It doesn’t sound authentic.
So what do we do?
How Do I Prove It in Trials?
Let’s walk through the passage:
v. 2: consider it all joy [when?] when you encounter various trials
What’s one way to do that? Read 1 Peter 5.7: “cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you”
How do you do that? Philippians 4.6 tells us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God
You consider it joy by giving it to God. You consider it joy because you know that Jesus saves you, God loves you, the Holy Spirit restores you. You consider it joy because God is good.
v. 3: knowing [what?] the testing of your faith produces endurance
v.4: let endurance have its perfect result [why?] so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing
What this simply means is you 1) you consider trials a joy, 2) understand the purpose of the trial, 3) Let the result happen by not giving up early. If you continue to give up on God in trials and not let endurance have its perfect result, you will never mature in your faith or in your life. And the Scripture is clear: if you let endurance have its perfect result, if you turn TO God in trial, you will not be lacking. If you bail, you’ll be left wanting and wandering until you finally wake up; until you finally prove it!
Remember what “trial” means? An experiment, an attempt, etc? Trials are an experiment to prove your faith. They expose it as legit or lame.
How Do We Respond To This?
So you’re a Christian?
And prove it by how you react to trials:
Pride says “I can fix this” and pursues whatever makes us feel better. Maturity recognizes we will never reach a new level of strength until we pass a new level of weakness.
The true follower of Christ doesn’t freak out, hurt themselves, medicate themselves, dull the pain, ignore the pain, blame God…the true follower of Christ endures
The Christian doesn’t quit
The Christian doesn’t turn their back on God and throw a tantrum that would make it on TMZ
No, the Christian has the courage to turn their tear-stained face to God and seek to know what his plan is in the midst of trial.
If you say you are a Christian, now you know one way to Prove It! We: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.