Trained By Trials

Trained By Trials

Sam’s book, “Free Your Mind,” due out in early 2019, is designed to help us all know how to think in a way that will not only bring us closer to God, but will fill us with more peace and joy than we have ever known before. Below is a section from one of the chapters, designed to help us all learn how to be joyful – even in the midst of dealing with trials and difficulties. We hope that even this short section will help to increase your joy in Christ!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so thatyou may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:7-11

In the first passage cited above, James, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, uses a fascinating Greek word to tell us that we will face “many colored” trials. What a true, accurate and helpful statement! We can all affirm it with our life experiences. We all go through trials of unending variety and frequency: Spiritual, emotional, mental, relational, familial… and others having to do with health, finances, jobs, education, planning our future…on and on we could go!

When trials come our way, how does God want us to think about them? How does he tell us to look at them? God wants us to think and look at them the way he does:

  • God teaches us to rejoice in our trials, knowing that he will bring good out of them, even though we may not see it at the moment
  • God wants us to be trained by our trials, allowing him, through them, to shape us into better people 

Both of the passages above reveal an amazing truth: they teach us that God uses the trials in our lives to make us into better people. Knowing this great promise, we can be set free from the discouragement, depression, anger and frustration that trials can bring to us, and instead, we can rejoice in them, knowing that in the future, by the grace of God, greater things are coming our way. 

God says in the first passage cited above that we are to “consider it pure joy” whenever we face trials of many kinds.”  Life is all about our attitude – how we choose to think. As Jesus made clear, when we focus our thoughts and lives on the truths of God, they will set us free. Even though we cannot control all that happens to us, we can control what happens within us by freeing our minds to think in the way that God desires.

Let’s look more closely at the good that God promises to bring us in our trials:

  • He will use them to make us “mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Do we want to grow spiritually, becoming more and more like Jesus? Of course we do! Then here is how God will get us there: he will use trials to reveal our weaknesses, and as opportunities for him to help us overcome them. 
  • As we see in the passage from James, when trials come our way, they test our faith.  But the good news is this: ultimately, God uses the trials that challenge our faith to make it grow even stronger. As we see throughout his word, when God’s people are placed in situations that are beyond their own power to deal with, he is then able to come through for them, showing, beyond any doubt, that it is his power working to deliver them. And yes, he will do the same for us as well! When we go through trials that test our faith and yet resolve to continue to trust God, he will reveal his mighty power to us. We, like our heroes in the bible, will come to see him, in the face of our weaknesses, working in unforgettable ways that build our faith, our gratitude, and our confidence.
  • Why do we admire faithful people in the bible? Isn’t it because they went through trials that tested their faith, and yet remained true to God? Isn’t it because they, even in the face of their own weaknesses, trusted in God, and he delivered them? Folks, as we face our own trials, let’s realize that we are going through the same kinds of challenges that our most admired heroes in God’s word had to face. Let’s then come to know and believe that one day, if we remain faithful, our lives, just like theirs, will bring glory to God, inspire others around us, and make us better people as well. And knowing that, we can rejoice in advance, in the midst of our trials!
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