Trials a reason to celebrate?
James 1: 2-12
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
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.
I notice several things about this portion of scripture.
1. We live in a world where we don’t invite competition, in fact, we tend not to like competition in specific jobs like sales.
I had a situation where I was competing with another company who sold the same type program as I did. We won the bid and it meant, in theory we would get about $250,000 in new business. The problem began when the losing company decided to start a smear campaign against the deciding body and tell these various places not to do business with anyone that is forced upon them, that they had their freedom of choice taken away.
They went on to say that they would beat our best price, by $1.00.
The day of the first big presentation arrived. Before the meeting even began the person running the meeting said, ”Before we start, I need to know you’re best price” I knew my competitor had gotten to them. I also knew my competitors company wasn’t very stable financially.
The program I was offering was $30,000.
So I took the biggest risk I had ever taken in my short sales career. I told them my best price was $1.00. The other company was forced to run the program for free and essentially killed them financially and they could not recover in time and we ended up with about $220,000 in business and one less competitor.
Would I have preferred that there was no competition? Absolutely. Did it make me get creative? Absolutely
It’s interesting the choice of words used in verse 2 “Consider it pure joy” What do you think pure means?
Depending on the translation of the Bible from which you are reading the best translation of this sentence containing the word “pure” is “nothing but joy”. In other words to me it means , don’t question God’s motives for letting us go through it because it’s going to make us better and stronger and closer to God and others.
2. But….Competition makes us better, sharper and more prepared.
3. Trials makes us incorporate faith in every day decisions. Verse 3
4. We must believe, God is in control and it is in our best interest it is happening. Vs.6
5. When we survive…we are rewarded. Vs. 12
For the believer trials:
• Help us Grow
• Make us Stronger
• Bring us Closer to God
So while we might not want to request trials, we certainly shouldn’t resent them because they are ultimately for our good.