Posted by: Jo | November 8, 2013

Trials and Temptations

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2 – 3)

image The Home Group that meets at our home is beginning a study on the epistle of James. This letter is written in a very down to earth manner and the theme is mainly this, if you profess to be a Christian just don’t talk about it live it! We were very excited about starting this week, but the very first study proved to be very daunting. The second verse set us all back on our heels. How could one consider it “pure joy” when we were facing trials? Wouldn’t it be more natural to complain and ask for sympathy from all of those around us? Before we went too much further, James challenges us again,

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

We all thought it was okay to give in when things were too tough. What about burn out? Being too tired? Too old? (Last one very applicable to our group)

We soon discovered that temptation loomed large in the warnings;

“But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” (James 1:14)

A good reminder not to blame others when we ourselves have caused the mess we are in.

Trials and temptations! James was not going to sugar coat the Christian walk. He is asking all of us to be realistic about the problems we all face as we try to exhibit the love of Christ to a fallen world, the wonderful news being, that we never have to overcome the trial or the temptation on our own, his beautiful Holy Spirit is always close at hand to provide that extra strength we all need. image

Sometimes in the midst of some trial it is hard to believe that any joy could possibly come out of it, but when we take the time to go back over other experiences we have lived through, and come out the other end with a much closer walk with our Saviour, it bolsters our courage and gives us the strength to face whatever is confronting us. The psalmists used this over and over again, reminding themselves and others how God had stepped in and fought the battles for them. The most important part of the retelling was to emphasise who really won the battle;

“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.” (Psalm 44:3)

I love the last part of that verse “the light of your face” means that when things are really tough that is when we draw really close to the Lord and when we do, we walk in his light which dispels the darkest of shadows.

Jesus himself faced both trials and temptations  and is well aware of what we have to face, imagebut he is also aware of our human frailty and is faithful in protecting his loved ones from being tempted beyond what they can bear;

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

We finished our first study with quite a different attitude to trials and felt determined to experience that “pure joy” as we allowed the Lord to fight our battles.

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Responses

  1. I feel God’s right hand is with us this week Mum. Thanks for the great blog.

    Like

  2. Perserverance Jo is a word that pops into my mind so often after our bible study ! Looking at it as I write this I can see another word (serve )! I pray I will learn
    perseverance as I continue to serve the Lord, Thankyou Jo for your patience , love and guidance . Much Love Jennifer

    Like


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