The Christian’s Response to Trials

The Christian’s Response to Trials

I have yet to encounter someone who has been a Christian for many years and never experienced trials and difficulties. Trials are inevitable, and if you expect the Christian life to be smooth and easy, you’re in for a big surprise. But what should be the Christian’s response to trials?

When James, the half-brother of our Lord, wrote to the Jewish Christians, he told them to expect trials of many kinds, but they are to “count it all joy (James 1:1-2). What exactly did James mean? Should Christians rejoice and celebrate when faced with impossible situations?

Why Christians fall into trials

1) Some trials come simply because we are human.

Sickness or diseases, accidents, disappointments, even apparent tragedies are part of life. Everyone goes through any or all of these because it’s part of being human. The Christian might say, “But didn’t the Lord already conquer sickness and death?”

Yes, Jesus is the Great Physician; He is our healer (Exodus 15:26) and there is no doubt that He can heal not just some, but all diseases. Isaiah 53:5 also says, “… by his wounds, we are healed.” But that does not mean we can escape physical illness and death.

Although our soul and spirit are immaterial, our body isn’t. So while we are still living in this tent, our physical body (2 Corinthians 5:4), we are susceptible to pain, disappointments and any sickness or diseases. That is why we are to take really good care of our body and our health. We can do this by practicing healthy living.

*Read here: The Key Elements of a Healthy Lifestyle

2) Other trials come because we are Christians.

Before coming to faith in Christ, we belonged to the devil (John 8:44) and were part of his worldly kingdom (2 Corinthians 4:4). The very moment we repented of our sins and trusted in Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord, we became a part of God’s family (John 1:12) and became citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20).

Being on God’s side made us enemies with Satan and the world. Satan fights with us and the world opposes us, resulting in a life of battle. Satan knows he can’t win against God so he goes after God’s children, the Christians.

How Christians should respond to trials

James tells his readers, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). In other translations it says, “Consider it pure joy…” or “Consider it an opportunity for great joy…”

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”

In Philippians 3:4-8, the apostle Paul used the word “consider.” First, he warns the believers about evil workers who teach that salvation is by works (Philippians 3:2 NLT). He then goes on to say that if salvation is based on human effort; he has every reason to be confident of his salvation (Philippians 3:3-6)

But because salvation is based solely on what Christ has done for us, whatever Paul thinks are his advantages over others became worthless. Here’s what Paul says in Philippians 3:7-8 (NIV):

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”

When Paul became a Christian, he evaluated his life and set new goals and priorities. Things that were once important to him became garbage in light of his experience with Christ. In the same way, when we face the trials of life, we must evaluate them in light of what God is doing for us.

Look beyond what you see
Photo Credits: Lionking2013.blogspot.com

To count all trials as joy is not to deny the difficulties and pain that they bring. We can cry, weep, mourn or grieve whenever trials and difficulties come. But we see beyond the difficulties to the good results that might come through trials. If we live only for the present, then trials will make us bitter, not better.

In the movie “Lion King,” when Mufasa showed his young son Simba the kingdom that he is to rule someday when he grows up, He told his son, “look beyond what you see.” God is telling the same thing to the Christians. The trials and difficulties you maybe experiencing now are temporary and they are nothing compared to the glory of being with Christ.

Jesus and the Cross

Crucifixion as a means of capital punishment is the worst during those times that the Romans who came up with it would not even consider imposing it on their own people. Crucifixion was the most painful and most shameful way to die, reserved for the worst offenders.

And yet, the Bible tells us that Jesus endured the cross and disregarded the shame. Why? Because of the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus knew that His suffering and death on the cross would result into something far greater – the salvation of mankind and their reconciliation with God

Faith is tested through trials which will result in endurance

Just a reminder, trials will not produce faith. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). But faith is tested through trials and will reveal what kind of faith we have. Is our faith genuine or not?

*Related Article: Genuine Faith Saves

“Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance {endurance}. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

God does not test our faith to prove if it’s the real deal or not because He already knows. There is nothing we can hide from God for He is all-knowing. Through trials, God wants to produce in us endurance, the same word used in Hebrews 12:1 when the writer exhorts the believers to “run with endurance the race that is set before them.”

In the Bible, endurance is not a passive acceptance of circumstances. It is the ability to remain steadfast in the face of suffering and difficulty. Endurance cannot be attained by simply reading the Bible, listening to sermons or even spending time on your knees. You must go through the difficulties of life, trust God and obey Him.

Endurance

The key theme of the book of James is spiritual maturity. God wants to build our character; He wants a finished product that is mature and complete. But He cannot do that without our cooperation. When we resist God, He chastens us into submission. But if we submit to Him, then He can accomplish His work in us.

Closing thoughts

They say that our values determine our evaluations. So if we value comfort rather than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material and physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to consider trials as “pure joy.”

“Blessed is the one who perseveres (remain steadfast) under trial, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

Through trials, God wants to produce in us endurance and the ability to keep going even when things are tough. Knowing this, Christians can face trials joyfully because they know that the end result is endurance and spiritual maturity that will bring glory to God.

What kind of trials have you gone through and how did you respond to them? Please do share them by leaving a comment.


*Are you looking for Bibles, Christian books and reference materials, DVD’s, gift items and more? Visit Christian Books Distributors with their Bestsellers.

2 Replies to “The Christian’s Response to Trials”

  1. Alice, what a wonderful article!  Many people believe that once you are a Born Again believer that you will never face trials or tribulations.  They don’t realize that when the Lord brings us through these trials, we are stronger, wiser and better followers of Christ Jesus.  I learned long ago that being a Christian is not for wimps… you need to be on your game!

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful truth that so many people do not understand.  This internet needs more websites like yours!   

    Clay

    1. That’s exactly right Clay. Most people think that becoming a Christian will solve all their problems and frees them from ever having to face any trials and difficulties. I think this is why some Christians have abandoned their faith because their expectations were not met.

      As you put it, God allows us to go through trials so that at the end of all these, we come out stronger and much grounded on the Word of God. Our relationship with the Lord also gets stronger because trials and difficulties will cause us to cling to God all the more.

      Thanks for dropping in, Clay. May the Lord bless you more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *