1. From Trouble to Triumph

James 1:1-12

A person’s faith will prove itself during times of trouble.  Trials are a tool in the loving hands of the Lord.  They test the strength of our faith; they humble us; they wean us from our dependence on earthly things; they call us to eternal and heavenly hope; they reveal what we really love; they teach us to value God’s blessings; they develop enduring strength for greater usefulness; they help us better encourage others who are in times of trial.

Trials mean to put someone or something to the test with the purpose of discovering that person’s nature or that thing’s quality.  God brings such tests to prove and increase the strength and quality of one’s faith and to demonstrate its validity.  Every trial becomes a test of faith designed to strengthen; if the believer fails the test by responding wrongly, that test then becomes a temptation or a solicitation to evil.

The natural human response to trials is not to rejoice; therefore the believer must make a conscious commitment to face them with joy. Divine wisdom enables believers to be joyous and submissive in the trials of life.  God intends that trials will drive believers to greater dependency on Him, by showing them their own inadequacy. 

Many people have great confidence in their faith until it is severely tested by hardships and disappointments.  How a person handles trouble will reveal whether his faith is living or dead, genuine or imitation.

Excerpt from James: Guidelines for a Happy Christian Life by John MacArthur

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