The Purpose of Trials (James Part 1)

My wife and I are teaching a class on the book of James for the next six weeks and I will be doing a series of posts on what I’m learning from this amazing New Testament letter.

James cuts right to the chase in chapter one after his greeting: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

We know that the church he’s writing to has been scattered due to persecution. Obviously, with persecution comes trials – note that James says “whenever” you face trials, not “if” you face trials.

The temptation in a time of trial is to run away from it, but James says the opposite. He says to run towards it, considering it “joy.” He proceeds to explain to them the purpose of trials and the outcome they can have on their faith. Consider the illustration below:


A trial can bring about good things for the Christian. If we consider it joy and let it happen, a trial will lead to the testing of our faith, which will lead to perseverance, which in turn will make us mature and complete, lacking nothing.

This passage convicted me this week as I was reading and praying through it. I felt as though I’ve been “cursing” some of the trials I’ve been in recently – wishing they’d leave me alone.

Yet, God, in His grace revealed to me that these trials are actually His blessings and grace in disguise.

They are testing my faith which are causing me to persevere which is maturing me in Christ. Hallelujah! I’m so grateful for His revealing of this to me this week. I’ve truly experienced joy in Him as I’ve surrendered to the trials I’m facing knowing that He is up to a greater good in me through them.

What trials are you currently facing? How are you responding to them?

God has a purpose for every trial you face. He wants to use them to make us more like Him – to become mature and complete –  through trials, Jesus surely is “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17).


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