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For those of us who wish we could just avoid the trials of life all together, James has a word for us. He writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2) No matter how much we would like to avoid the trials of life, James assures us that they will definitely come. What’s more, he wants us to “consider it pure joy,” when we face them.
As believers in Him, Jesus promises us many things. We have His continued presence, a peace the world cannot give, and a home in heaven, among other things. However, one thing Jesus did not promise us was that life would be easy.
Trials come in various forms. We go through trials because of bad decisions we make. We go through trials because to be a follower of Christ is to be out-of-step with society. Then, there are those trials that are simply mysterious and unexplainable.
We might not have the choice of which type of trial presents itself in our life, but we do have a choice of how we respond. In the trials of life, we can either choose to be a victor or a victim. No person or situation can make the choice for us. It is not determined by how unfair or unexplainable the trial is. We make the conscious choice to be either a victor of a victim.
One way to choose to be a victor is to evaluate every trial in the light of eternity. If the things of this life, like possessions, health, pleasure, and comfort are more important to us than the glories of heaven, then trials that cause us to loose those possessions, health, pleasure, and comfort will produce a victim attitude. On the other hand, if the glories of heaven are more important than the things of this life, then we are able to have the attitude of a victor, even if we lose everything here on earth.
A victor can rejoice in the midst of trials because he/she knows the trials are a testing. For the believer, testing works for us, not against us. The only way we can develop perseverance and character in our lives is through trials. If you want a scientific example of this principle, go look up how gold is refined.
We will not develop perseverance by reading a book, listening to a sermon, or even praying a prayer. We do so by going through the trials of life, trusting God, and obeying Him.
God is always working for us, not against us. We can rejoice knowing that the trials we face, no matter how difficult, have the potential to develop something incredible in us.
So, in the trials of life, be a victor, not a victim.