If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and unbraideth not; and it shall be given him.–James 1:5
The last two days I’ve talked about temptations. Where temptation is some form of difficulty or pressure in our lives. Click here for: Part 1 and Part 2.
We are to ask God for wisdom in dealing with our trials, not just deliverance from them. As mentioned in yesterday’s post (Part 2: Patience), we need patience when going through trials, and sometimes that means dealing with the trial and working through it; not getting out of it.
Wisdom is the spiritual capacity to see and evaluate life from God’s perspective. It means making right choices and doing the right thing according to the will of God as revealed in His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When we go through trials or temptations we always want to look at it from our perspective. Why me? Why do I have to go through this? We don’t look at it from God’s perspective that he might be strengthening us, for something bigger in our life. Trials are a lot like weight lifting. When lifting weights, you have a set weight you lift, then some days you add on some more weight. Yeah, you feel a little pain afterwords, but after a few days it goes away and it helps you lift more later on. Trials are the same way. We go through the trial, it hurts for a bit of time, but later on, we can handle more.
Many times we will not know why we had to go through times of temptation until we’re in heaven. That’s were patience and wisdom come into play here on Earth. We have to remember that God loves us and wants what is best for us, not what we want, but what is best for us. Just as earthly parents sometimes let there children struggle through certain tasks or situations, so they are prepared later on in life, God does the same with us. We must pray if its not God’s Will to remove the struggle that He would give us the wisdom, understanding, and patience to get through it.
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.–James 1:3
It seems odd to say that temptations leads to patience. Yesterday I discussed temptations. Temptations are difficult times or trials in our life that God uses. Paul says in Romans 5:3, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”
So there has to be something there about difficult times leading to patience, if both James and Paul have said this. How do we respond when we go through trials? We want to fix it now. We don’t like going through them. We don’t want it fixed tomorrow, next week, next year. . . we want it to end now. When we go through these difficult times in our life we seek God more. By seeking God’s grace, instead of driving us to despair, suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character. Proven character results in a mature hope in God (or patience) that will not disappoint.
God’s grace lets us look beyond our present problems in life and lets us have hope in God and a certain hope for the return of the Lord. So this is more a patience that we know that the Lord is good and he will take care of us. So often we want our problems to end now, but God’s time is not our time. In 2 Peter 3:8, it says “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. ”
When we go through trials, we need to pray that God will give us the perseverance to get through it. That He will show us the lesson he wants us to learn and that we will increase in our spiritual maturity.
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My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. –Proverbs 3:11-12
Sometimes the Lord lets us go through trials and difficulties so that we are formed more in his image. This sounds like an uncaring God right? I mean, that’s what a lot of people say, how could a God that is loving and caring let difficulties happen. But isn’t that how we grow?
How do we grow?
How do we learn? We learn from failures, we learn through pain. We naturally do not like to be in difficult situations, so we naturally try to find away to get out of them. We do like to be comfortable, and when we’re comfortable, we have no incentive to change. When I was playing sports, I learned more through the losses and difficulties than when we were having our winning streaks. Losing is not fun, so I changed what I did so I had a better chance to win.
When we lift weights, we put our muscles under stress, we challenge our muscles, pushing them past what we think they can handle. There will be pain afterwords, but that pain (muscle fibers tearing) causes the muscle to repair itself and to grow bigger. Down the road, our muscles can then handle more weight.
Spiritual growth is a lot like lifting weights. We go through difficulties and trials that push us past what we thought we could handle. It makes us grow, it gives us wisdom. Then we learn to handle more.
Difficult times allows us to have a connection with others, and helps build community. Sometimes those difficult times allow us to have a testimony to others. We should never shy away from our trials. Doesn’t mean we have to like it, but we should understand that God uses it for His will in our life. Just as parents correct their children because they love them, God does the same with his children.