Texts: James 1:2-18; 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
Our attitudes, especially during tough times, are very important. They determine whether you soar above your challenges or sink under them. So how should we respond when we go through tough times?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds (James 1:2)
- Be hopeful. Even in the hardest, gravest moments of your life; God is with you. He is for you and not against you. He will work out something good out of your troubles.
- We can be joyful in trials because of the promise of the reward (a crown of life) for those who endure. 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).
- LET YOUR TRIALS BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GOD TO DISPLAY HIS POWER. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Ask God for wisdom
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).
- Ask the Lord what He would want you to do in your situation
- Believe that when you ask, God will answer you
- Make decisions based on the wisdom you received from the Lord
This takes us to the next attitude…
Make the most out of your tough times
Apostle Paul’s example:
- Paul wrote letters to churches
- He preached the Gospel to the guards and those who met him
- He maintained a positive outlook about his situation: “I am chained but the gospel is not chained” (cf. 2 Timothy 2:9)
King David’s Example
- When he was a fugitive, running from King Saul, he provided leadership to those who sought for him.
David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him (1 Samuel 22:1-2).
You might be out of work (meaning that you have more time on you). There are a number of things you could do:
- Dream of the future that you envision (yes, never stop dreaming)
- Visit and encourage others
- Volunteer in a local community-based charity
Ask the Lord to deliver you from the trial.
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray (James 5:13).
- The Bible is full of examples of people who cried out to the Lord to deliver them out of their troubles—and He did. God has promised that when we call on His name, He will answer and rescue us from our troubles. And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me (Psalm 50:15)
What’s the difference between a trial and a temptation?
Using the example of Jesus Christ:
At the end of fasting for 40 days and nights, he was hungry and thirsty. The need (or desire) for food and water can be likened to a trial. But the enemy wanted Jesus to misuse His divine powers (in ways that were inconsistent with God’s word) to turn stones into food -this was a temptation
One of the tragedies of today’s Christianity is pragmatism, which basically goes like this: “If it works, then it’s OK.” We are told that the end justifies the means. But God is interested in both the means and the end. What we do and how we do it, equally matter to God.
The Lord’s purpose in trials is to make you mature—to become more like Jesus. However, Satan’s goal is to take advantage of your trials to tempt you to deny God. Faith makes you keep your focus on Jesus.