The Reflection of God In Our Trials

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. – James 1:2-4

The book of James is a very practical book that helps us to live out our faith and actually do it – not just read it or hear it!

James starts chapter one by telling us who it is he is talking to – “…the twelve tribes in the Dispersion”. He is talking to fellow christians. These were the people who were scattered throughout the world by the Assyrians and Babylonians.

count-it-all-joyJames jumps right into verse two by saying, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…”. Joy in trials…really? I have been through my share of trials and it is very difficult to be joyful. But this is what God is telling us we should do – count it all joy!

WHY? Why are we to count the trials as joy?

Answer: Because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness – and steadfastness, when it is finished, helps us to be made perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James is telling us that the trials we are going through are not wasted times in our lives. They are not coincidence.  This “testing of your faith” is something that God wants to use in your life, my life, to make us more like Him.

That phrase “testing of your faith” is awesome when you break it down. “Testing” is a phrase that silversmiths would use when they wanted to purify silver. They would fill a pot with silver and then heat it up. At a certain temperature, all of the impurities would rise to the top and the silversmith would scoop the top layer off and discard it.

The silversmith would then look into the pot of silver. If he did not see his own reflection then he would repeat the process. This process, or the testing of the silver, was done until the silversmith was able to see his own reflection in the silver.

That is what God is doing with us! He is telling us that the trials or test that we are going through are there to challenge our faith and to make our faith more genuine. The tests are there to burn the impurities out of our lives, so that we will look more and more like Jesus. Each trial is there for a purpose – for God to look down and see more and more of himself in our lives.

So, how do you look at “trials of various kinds”? As nothing more than bumps in the road of life or something that will make you look more and more like Jesus?

Examine Yourself – What Do Your Ears Hear?

In my last post, I said that I was going to go through a series of things that, as christians, we needed to “look within” ourselves and examine in order that our lives match up with the way the Bible tells us that we should be living.

Today, we look at the topic of our ears.

Proverbs 4:20 says,

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ears to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart

Warren Weirsbe had this to say about the ears:

Whatever enters our ears will untimely influence our minds, our hearts and in the end our decisions.

Solomon was warning, if not begging, his son to listen to the words that he was trying to tell him. Solomon understood the importance of the following words and just how these words of wisdom were going to help his son down the road.

  • We must be careful what we hear or comes into our ears: There are several things that I can say about this but I want to point out one in particular here – we must be careful about what we let other people put in our ears. Ephesians 5:4 says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving”. As christians, you have the choice as to what goes in our ears from other people. Whether it be people telling filthy or crude jokes or tearing someone else down – we have the option to listen or not and the Bible tells us that we are to have no part in that type of foolish talk!
  • We must be careful who we listen too: Psalm 1;1 says,  – “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
 nor stands in the way of sinners,
 nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
 and on his law he meditates day and night”.  This verse is telling us to be careful about walking in the “counsel of the wicked”. Who we walk with will be who we get our advice from and we must make sure that that advice is godly and biblical. We must make sure that we weigh everything that comes into our ears against the Word of God!
  • We must be careful to hear the Voice of God above all: (John 10:3-5 / 16) – To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. We must be able to hear God’s voice!

So, what is entering into your ears? As Christians, we should make sure that everything that entering into our ears is glorifying to God. Are you listening to filthy jokes? Obsene talk? Who are you getting your counsel from? The world or from the Bible?

Can you hear HIM?

Video: “A Personal Spiritual Examination”

Examine Yourself

In the book of II Corinthians and chapter 13, Paul is talking to the church at Corinth and says this,

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Paul is writing to a group of people who call themselves christians, and he is telling them that they need to look deep inside of them to really see if what they are doing and how they are living is what christians should be doing.

My honest opinion is this – that the church today is made up of too many people that call themselves christians but don’t ACT or LOOK anything like a christian!

The word church in the Greek language means “a called-out people.” Each church has two addresses – a geographic address (“at Corinth”) and a spiritual address (“in Christ Jesus”). The church is made up of saints, that is, people who have been “sanctified” or “set apart” by God.

If we are a “called-out people” then we should ACT & LOOK different from this world!

In this passage of scripture, Paul turns the tables on the church of Corinth. In verse 3, the people of Corinth are wanting “proof” from Paul that Christ was speaking in him. So Paul decided to ask the people the same question, and he basically says to them – instead of worrying about someone else – take the time first to test yourself to see if Christ is in you!

Over the next few post, I am going to be looking into the Book of Proverbs at ways that we, as christians, need to “look within” to “examine” ourselves to make sure we are a “called-out people”.