Responding to Trials

by Brandon Ware

James 1:12

When we respond to trials the way that James tells us to in this text, through joyful and patient endurance, we are then told what the outcome of those trials will be. Notice how he distinguishes between two different kinds of Christians—the poor and the rich.  As we read on throughout the letter, we discover that money and social status were real problems that the church had to deal with. God’s tests have a way of putting us all on level ground. They come to both the poor and the rich.  Whenever the poor brother faces a test, he is to rejoice that he possesses eternal riches that cannot be taken away.  When the rich experience testing, he is to rejoice in the fact that he has treasures in heaven that cannot wither or diminish. This is James’ way of telling us that it is not our material resources that will get us through the trials of life—it is our spiritual resources!

When those who endure the trials of life stand the test, when they pass the test and reach graduation, James says that they receive the crown of life.  Imagine that! The idea is that of a victor’s crown.  It is easy for us to allow ourselves to feel victimized by our circumstances.  But you and I are not victims—we are victors because of our standing in Christ. God promises to give this reward to those who ‘love’ Him.  Love for God is the supreme motivation for everything we do in life.  It is the spiritual force behind every imperative James gives us here, and it only such love that will keep us faithful to Christ.

When it comes to life’s trials, we need to have the right response—joyful surrender and submission.  We must understand God’s purposes behind our trials—to work patience into our lives and make us like Jesus.  And we need to keep the end in mind whenever we face them.

For more, read James 1:9-12

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