The Benefits of Trials
There are two facts about life which you, as a Christian, should accept: 1) Your life is filled with challenges, and 2) Your life should be a life of continual growth and improvement. Life challenges and growth go hand-in-hand. The more challenges you face, the more opportunities you have to grow and improve yourself. This is especially true in your life as a Christian.
Give consideration to James 1:2-4 as seen in the English Standard Version:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4, ESV)
James begins this section by writing, “Count it all joy, my brother.” That which follows the phrase “count it all joy, my brothers” is that which is beneficial to the child of God. Observe that James told the brethren to count it all joy when they met “trails of various kinds.” Such “trials of various kinds” would bring about steadfastness (patience, NKJV) in the life of the Christian.
Allow me to illustrate how “trials of various kinds” results in the increase of your steadfastness. As you already know, life is not always easy. While there may be days free from challenges, most days bring some type of difficulty or problematic circumstance. During these moments of challenge and difficulty, your faith in God calls upon you to persevere. You recognize these trials are not your enemy. These trials in life are simply obstacles that you have to overcome. Your faith in God reminds you that difficult circumstances are temporary. If you will trust in God, believing His word, then you know you can overcome the obstacles and can weather every challenge of life. If you will allow your faith and trust in God to serve as assurance, then your steadfastness, your patience will become stronger with every challenge, trial, or obstacle you face.
Consider as an example the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul faced a physical challenge to which he referred as “a thorn in the flesh.” The apostle Paul prayed three times, asking the Lord to remove this “thorn in the flesh.” However, the Lord replied,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” To which the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
The apostle Paul knew that those challenges of life, those reproaches and times of distress, made him stronger because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
The apostle Peter reminds the reader that one’s faith “tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Take careful note of the following:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:6-9)
Whether the trials are things pertaining to everyday living or persecutions as a result of your faith in Jesus Christ, the result should always be spiritual growth. No matter what happens in your life, remember to always look to Jesus Christ and follow Him down the path of faithfulness which leads to eternity in heaven.