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Triumphing through Trials

We will face trouble and trials in this world. Jesus didn’t pull any punches about that when in said, 33 “…In this world you will have trouble. (John 16:33) When trials come your way, how will you respond? Throughout God’s Word, we see example after example of those who turned defeat into victory and trial into triumph. They became, not victims of their circumstances, but victors over their circumstances! How can you and I do that?  In James 1:2-12, we discover four directives for turning trials into triumph.

1) Adopt a positive, joyful attitude.  (James 1:2)

This is a verse that can be confounding unless you really think about it. On the surface, it seems counterintuitive to be joyful in trials. Most might say, “I don’t get joyful when I face trials in life, I get depressed or despondent or jaded, but not joyful.” Yet James says to consider it pure joy whenever you face trials.  How can we do that? Make a decision in advance to adopt and maintain a joyful attitude, no matter what you face! Pastor and author Warren Wiersbe says: “Outlook determines outcome, and attitude determines action.”  

2) Lean into not what you feel, but what you know!   (James 1:3)

During trials, everyone tends toward despair, depression or anxiety. Those feelings are real, but they don’t have to overwhelm you or define you.  It’s important to lean into not what you might feel, but what you know is true as a Christ-follower. What do you know that enables you to face trials?

You know that your faith will be tested. We see this again and again in Scripture. God always tests us to bring out the best in us! 

You know that testing works for you, not against you.  One promise that I quote as much as any other in ministry, and that I’ve counted on personally in my life, is: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.  

You know that trials are designed to help you mature!  What does God want to produce in our lives? Perseverance, endurance, patience! Perseverance is not just a passive acceptance of your suffering and pain; it is a courageous endurance built on a firm belief that God is at work in your circumstances, maturing you, growing you up! 3 …but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5:3-4. 

The only way to develop perseverance in life is to go through the trials, the hardships, and the pains. You won’t gain perseverance any other way! Don’t be afraid of trials and hardship. Know that God is at work in you!  

3) Surrender yourself to God’s will and allow Him to do His work in you! (James 1:4)

God’s goal for you and for me is maturity. He wants us to grow up! As a dad, I love my children, and I loved each stage of their growth and development; but I wanted to see them mature, to grow up, not lacking anything. God wants the same for you and me! 

Paul taught about three specific stages of maturity for a Believer in Ephesians 2:8-10. To make you mature and complete, God works for you in providing your salvation, in you to build your character and through you to serve Him with good work!  God is always building your character to better equip you for His service. But you must “let” Him do that!  

4) Pray for wisdom! (James 1:5-8)

Trouble and trials in life will definitely drive you to your knees in prayer, but what do you typically pray? When life is hard, most people pray for mercy, strength, or help. James says to pray for wisdom. Why? Because we don’t want to miss the opportunity God is giving us to mature.  

Like you, I’ve been through some trying times in life. During many of those times, I prayed, “Why me? Woe is me.” But the better prayer is, “Why not me? Give me wisdom Lord! Help me to understand what you’re teaching me and how you’re growing me!” Will you pray for wisdom in the trials of life?

James closes this passage with a beatitude: 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

For much more, click here to listen to: Blueprint - Part 2 - Triumphing Through Trials


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