Summary: What are trials? 1. The term is used to speak of afflictions and adversities that we encounter in life. 2. These trials are of various kinds. It could be illness, financial reverses, problems at work, persecution for our faith, etc. They come in all sh
I. A Proper Attitude Toward Trials (v. 2).
A. What are trials?
1. The term is used to speak of afflictions and adversities that we encounter in life.
2. These trials are of various kinds. It could be illness, financial reverses, problems at work,
persecution for our faith, etc. They come in all shapes and sizes.
B. Our attitude toward trials.
1. Consider it pure joy. Not part joy and part something else, but pure joy.
2. It seems quite unnatural for our attitude toward trials to be pure joy.
3. However, this is a categorical biblical command. We are commanded to have an attitude of joy in
APP: We must be careful to understand what James is calling for here. He is not suggesting some
kind of crazy happiness in the hurts and losses of life. He is not saying that we are to enjoy being
sick, losing a loved one, getting laid off from our job, being persecuted, etc. This is not some weird
kind of denial that life often hurts. Some of us here today are hurting. We are suffering. James does
not suggest that we manufacture some kind of other-worldly, phony sense of happiness about our
troubles. So, what is he suggesting?
There is a reason to be joyful in the midst of trials. It is not being happy about the trouble. It is
finding joy in what the trouble produces. It is enjoying the sweet fruit produced only by bitter times.
II. The Powerful Outcome of Trials (vv. 3-4)
A. Consider it all joy…because you know…
1. We know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance.
a. Testing of your faith. Trials test faith.
1) Not a test to find if faith is there.
2) A test to strengthen faith (1 Pet. 1:7).
ILL: In the original greek, this word is used to describe the process of refining silver. It is put into
the flames to burn off the impurities and strengthen the quality of the silver. God does not test us to
destroy us but to purify and strengthen us.
b. Testing leads to perseverance. The Gk. term hupomone means to abide under. It refers to the
ability to bear up under a burden. It is the staying power of the Christian life.
ILL: I love this little parable of endurance. It seems that an old dog fell into a farmers well. After
considering the situation, the farmer decided that neither the dog nor the well were worth saving.
So, he decided to bury the old dog and put him out of his misery. When the farmer began shoveling,
the dog was hysterical. But as the farmer kept on shoveling, and the dirt hit his back, a thought
struck the old dog. Each time a shovel full of dirt hit his back, the dog would shake off the dirt and
step up. So, blow after blow, the dog would shake it off and step up. No matter how painful those
shovels of dirt were, the old dog fought panic, he just kept shaking it off and stepping up. Finally, the
dog, battered and exhausted stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well. What he thought would
bury him actually benefited him because of the way he handled his adversity.
Perseverance is the ability to shake it off and step up when a load of trials are dumped on you.