The fact that we face trials on a regular basis is not in question. Everyone agrees with this, but not everyone recognizes the benefits of these trials. In fact, most consider them unfair, destructive, or even get angry at God as a result of the more difficult ones. Fortunately, we can go to the Bible to see a different picture.
Trials Are Pure Joy!
In my last post, we went to James 1:2-12 and discussed the fact that we are to consider these trials as “pure joy!” We are not to view them in any other way, but to thank God for them. In order to do this, it is critical we see the benefits.
It is just like exercising. Many people enjoy exercising and therefore do it for enjoyment. Most others that exercise see it as a necessary part of their life. They don’t really enjoy it, but they see the benefits and accept the exercise as a means to get those benefits.
Trials Bring Benefits
We need to look at trials in the same way. No, they will not be fun or exciting. They are most likely going to be tough, tiring, draining, and sometimes devastating. Just the same, we need to look hard at the benefits, considering the trials as joy as a result.
We have already looked at the first two benefits that come as a result of trials – Perseverance and Maturity. Now lets continue with the other three benefits we find in this passage (and beyond).
It may at first seem odd that James talks about wisdom right in the middle of describing the benefits of trials. Actually, he is not necessarily changing subjects. James is explaining that we need wisdom in the suffering of these trials.
Wisdom can show us how to best survive the trial when in it and how to best use it later when through it. All we have to do to get this wisdom is ask! So rather than praying for the removal of a trial, our mindset needs to be that we pray for the wisdom to use it for our benefit.
This same wisdom is invaluable when applied to business situations. Whether we like to admit it or not, some of the trials we face in business come as a result of poor decisions or behaviors. Applying wisdom in future situations will help us to avoid repeating some of these trials.
Wisdom will also provide opportunities we would not otherwise have. Wisdom allows us to be great mentors to those Christian leaders coming behind us. Wisdom gives us the ability to cut through the chaos in a crisis situation and avoid unnecessary damage. It moves into leadership positions we never anticipated. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Crown Of Life
Skipping down to verse 12 in James 1, we find what may be the ultimate benefit of trials! Let’s look at this verse:
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 will be honest and tell you that I do not know exactly what the crown of life is! I simply believe that it is a good thing and that it lasts beyond the trials, beyond this life altogether (Revelation 2:10). It is definitely something we want to receive!
Experience To Teach
The final benefit we gain from trials, and all we learn as a result of these trials, is a depth of experience that we can draw upon as we seek to teach others. This is a big deal!
We are told in the Great Commission that we are to teach all that Jesus commanded. We are told in 2 Timothy 2:2 that we are to teach others that are also qualified to teach. There are other instances where teaching is emphasized. If you are a Christian, you are to be a teacher.
I am NOT saying that all Christians are to grab a class and begin teaching in a group setting. I am not saying that all Christians have a gift for teaching. I AM saying that all Christians are in a position to teach SOMEONE what they know.
Andy Stanley worded it this way – “I am not responsible for filling someone else’s cup, just emptying mine.” When we recognize this responsibility, we will suddenly become thankful for those trials we have faced.
Praise For Trials
It is from these trials and the resulting perseverance, maturity, and wisdom that we can best be qualified to teach those who are looking to us for guidance. When you begin to see potential students around you, you will praise God for the trials you have seen!
Have you noticed wisdom as a result of trials?
What do you think the crown of life means?
Have you had the opportunity to teach someone because of a trial you experienced?