Coming through stronger

James 1--2-3

In a challenging message delivered during a midweek Bible study called “Hour of Power,” Bishop Charles Mellette encouraged the congregation at Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC that as we face trials on every hand, we are “Coming through Stronger.” In unfolding the opening verses of James 1:2-4, he reminded us that we will encounter various trials; however, “The problem is not the problem but our perception of the problem.”

He went on to explain what he meant by trials which are the “trying, testing, the putting to the proof of something.” They are experimental actions applied in order to obtain results. Trials involve being subjected to intense and challenging times that test our motives and values. In the same way that God sent the Children of Israel through the wilderness for an extended period of time in order to test or to prove what was in their hearts, the trials we face prepare us for the next level of service to God. He went on to say, “You will shorten your season of testing or trials if you will only allow your trials to make you stronger.”

The time of ministry in the Word of God brought to mind a previous blog post based on a similar teaching by Bishop Mellette discussing the same passage from James 1:2-4, rendered here in the New Living Translation:

Faith and Endurance

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Included in that teaching was the whole idea of trials as tests, the inspiration behind this poem written from the perspective of a “student/teacher”

All Tests

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and

Challenges come at you from all sides.” [The Message]

 James 1:2

 

With zeal we make our calling and election sure,

As we attempt to complete yet another test.

As ever eager students, we will do our best.

You promised good to us, your Word our hope secure.

Search us and know us—discern that our motives are pure.

Our souls now anchored in hope; in You we find rest.

You are our light, even when times seem their darkest.

Just as a patient father seeks to reassure

Children, so the Master Teacher shows His design:

All tests are formed not to punish but to refine.

Despite shortcomings and failures that we have made,

You are gracious and generous each time You grade.

Knowing this, trials we face we resist no longer.

This too shall pass, as we are coming through stronger.

The message concluded with a reminder of the blessings and benefits of trials which are a way of life for every believer. Trials forge humility and give birth to perseverance. Indeed, we have the capacity to persevere to see God’s promises come to pass in our lives.

Hebrews 10:36 also offers this reminder in the New Living Translation:

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Knowing this, we can count it all joy when we encounter various fiery trials that test our faith and build patient endurance.

We close with this scripture memory song based on James 1:2-4:

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