Develop perseverance and wisdom in the face of trials

December 1, 2022 0 Comments

The New Testament book of James describes trials as trials that come through suffering that Christians must endure and overcome. James 1:2-4 sees enduring trials as a reason for joy, because they produce maturity and develop perseverance.

Perseverance is the constancy in the belief or security of eternal security in Jesus Christ, which the believer possesses after overcoming the tests. RH Johnson, in his article “Overcoming Under Trial” (p1) describes testing as “the old way of testing new bridges”. He went on to explain that previously new bridges were heavily loaded before being used for public service, not to ruin or fail them, but to keep them strong under normal use. R. Jonathan, one of the first rabbis to be quoted in works of Jewish literature such as the Talmud; he also once said: “A potter does not examine defective vessels. What does he examine then? Only sound vessels. Similarly, the Holy One, blessed be He, does not test the wicked but the righteous.” These two quotes help the Christian to know that trials or suffering are inevitable for us and, if endured, will lead to heavenly reward, so there are many reasons to rejoice in anticipation of the reward if we stand firm in our faith.

According to Peter H. Davids in ‘James – A Good News commentary’, 1983, (p3), the tests James is referring to are the testing and refining situations in life, difficult situations in which faith is severely tested. such as persecution, a difficult moral choice, or a tragic experience. Although these can be sad or bitter experiences, Santiago does not dwell on them but transforms his perspective of such trials on the results. Indeed, a trial is not an end in itself; it is only a means to an end. For the believer, the end result is the development of perseverance and divine wisdom in facing or handling these trials.

The wisdom of the world seeks to avoid trouble in a trying circumstance through accommodation and/or compromise. However, God’s wisdom helps the Christian overcome trials through faith.

The Old Testament story of Job is a perfect illustration of a true believer in God who developed perseverance and wisdom in the face of trials. Job was an upright and blameless man, fearing God and turning away from evil. However, the time came to go through trials and suffering rained down on him in all its forms. His wealth, which was measured in thousands of animals, was lost in one day. He also lost all of his ten children and as if all this were not enough, he was also in physical pain. This very righteous man was now suffering both psychologically and physically, but his reverence for God did not waver. Even his wife lost trust in God and she told Job to hasten his imminent death by cursing God. Job’s response to her was that we must not only be ready to accept God’s ‘good’ but also her problems. He refused to turn his back on God even though conditions worsened with the arrival of three of his friends who accused him of suffering because of some secret sin. However, Job sought the face of God. He cried out to God for an explanation of his suffering, which he knew he didn’t deserve. He spent his life and endured these trials with the wisdom he got from God, which surpassed all the human wisdom his friends displayed. This story portrays the fact that true godly wisdom is to reverently love God more than all the gifts we receive from Him and trust in His goodness even though we may not always understand His ways. It is worth noting that God gives us a special grace for every trial if we ask for it. This is why, according to BW Woods, 1974 (p. 72), John Milton could write poetry while he was blind and Beethoven could compose music while he lived in the silent world of deafness. God’s grace is sufficient for every situation or condition. The apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians that after he had pleaded three times to God to remove the “thorn of the flesh”, God told him that his Grace was enough for him because this power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Co 12, 8-9). God’s grace produces wisdom in man, in faith and perseverance.

God uses tests or tests to strengthen our faith in Him. As Davids says, “The testing process is like the tempering of steel: the heat, instead of destroying the steel, makes it stronger.” (p3). The result of the trials in our life will be the ability to persevere until the end, waiting for our reward in heaven. This ability is a virtue that only trials and suffering will produce. It also produces a stable character and a firm demonstration of our faith. The story of Abraham in Genesis 22 is an example of a man developing perseverance from his trial.

God had promised Abraham that he would make him the father of many nations and that he would establish his covenant with Abraham’s descendants, giving them the land of Canaan as their perpetual possession. God also gave Abraham and his wife Sarah a son in his old age and they were happy. Suddenly, God tested Abraham by telling him to take his son Isaac and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham had promised to be obedient to God and had even consecrated his son to the Lord through circumcision. However, his hopes of becoming the father of a great nation were fading, as he was now going to kill the son of the covenant. This did not hinder Abraham’s loyalty to God, but he obediently took the child for sacrifice. He was sure that God would do something to fulfill the promise he had made to him. When Isaac asked his father about the animal for the burnt offering, the answer was that God himself would provide it for him. Abraham endured this ordeal of going up the mountain with his son, building the altar for the sacrifice, arranging the wood for the fire, tying his son and placing him on top of the wood to kill him. It is almost unimaginable that a father could do this to his own child, but Abraham endured this trial, trusting that God would do something for him later, as He had done before. God tested Abraham by providing a ram for the sacrifice and also by renewing his covenant to bless him and multiply his offspring. Abraham persevered as a result of suffering and was rewarded accordingly.

Perseverance is a development that molds the character of a Christian believer around his commitment to Christ. It indicates the security given to those who follow Christ, reminding them that the power of God will keep them as Christians until they die and that they will surely live with Christ in heaven forever. It implies persistence and constancy in prayer, seeking God’s wisdom to help you overcome his trials.

Divine wisdom is a communication from God, showing man the way to life. This communication is done through persistent and constant prayer and comes directly from God to man. Only God is the one who gives man a heart capable of discerning good from evil. Prov 1:7 and 14:27 tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the source of life; and that only fools hate discipline and wisdom. Solomon, when he became king of Israel, asked God for wisdom to govern his people and distinguish between good and evil. It is this divine wisdom that helps Christians make the right decisions regarding the appropriate actions to take in specific circumstances, with the Holy Spirit as their guide. This wisdom is what we are reminded of in James 1:5 as a free gift from God to believers, leading to a practically wise life, manifesting itself in good and godly character and conduct. James says that God is very willing to give us this wisdom and he will not reproach us for asking but rather that we have to ask in faith, believing that God will give us the best solution to our problems.

As Christians, we must realize that trials are inevitable and necessary for us to develop perseverance. We also need God’s wisdom to overcome them. James tells us that it is wisdom that allows us to face trials with “pure joy” (James 1:2), but we must have firm faith to receive it and act accordingly. The Bible says that as Christians, God wants us to think like Christ, love like him, care like him, obey like him, and sacrifice like him. (Romans 8:29). This should remind us that although we cannot be Christ, we must be ready and willing to suffer like him.


NIV study bible.

Davids, Peter H, James. A good news comment. Leicester: Inter Varsity Press, 1983

Woods, BW Christians in Sorrow – Perspective on Suffering. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1974

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