This past summer, while studying James at Northland Camp, the Lord starting working in my heart about what trials are used for in our lives. It starts in James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations: Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
God has been teaching me about how He uses trials to change me, but recently He has been showing me even more of how the trials He sends my way are really for my good and His glory.
As we studied James, I was also going through the New Testament in my devotions. When I came to I Peter, that’s when my view of trials began to change. It was amazing to see the parallels between James and 1 Peter. The verse that really caught my attention was I Peter 1:7 which says, “That the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus.” So God was showing me through James and Peter that my trials are not just times where I get joy from coming out of a situation, but that the trial itself is actually for my good. I need to treasure those times because of the end goal: the glory of Christ in me. For example, I hate running, and when I run it’s not just to get it over with, it’s to see the end result. God is still working in my heart to teach me this.
I began to understand the fact that my trials are joyous and that they work patience in me, but also, that they are for the praise, honor, and glory of Christ in me. That is not the end though. With excitement, I went on in I Peter only to be stopped in my tracks again. I Peter 1:15-16 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, ‘Be ye holy: for I am holy.’” Automatic shut down–I was convicted. I started thinking about all the times I have responded in my trials with an unholy view. I started thinking about my sins: my selfishness, pride, and many others. I was starting to get discouraged, but God was using this in my life to point me to Christ, who is holy, and who lives in me. Christ suffered just like us and went through trials, yet He was holy. “So,” I thought, “how can I be holy?” God immediately brought to mind that I can be holy because Christ is in me. I can trust that He will do whatever it takes to make me more like His Son, Jesus Christ who is holy.
The last few verses of I Peter 1 have been constantly on my mind. I Peter 1:23-25 says “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” My inheritance is imperishable because of a holy God. It is well worth the run.