If we properly understand the purpose of trials, then our attitude about them and about God will change.

I used to watch a TV show years ago titled “Seinfeld”. It was a wildly popular show about nothing. It really didn’t have much of a story line or plot. Most of the time it simply observed the mundane aspects of daily life in New York City. The “best” part of the show were the characters. They were overblown for sure. But they were funny. So very funny.

One character I really liked was called “The Soup Nazi”. This guy, who operated a soup restaurant, had a very particular way he wanted people to order his soup and conduct themselves in his shop. If one failed to obey his policies to the letter that person would be denied soup with a loud “No Soup for You!” and kicked out of the store. I guess you had to see it to laugh.

Sometimes I think that we see God as the Soup Nazi. If we fail to do everything exactly as He wants us to, He will kick us out of His shop with a loud “No Grace for You!” This attitude is fueled by our lack of understanding regarding the purpose of trials.

Trials are a part of the Christian’s life.

We need to understand that trials are essential to our development as Christians. But there are some who profess to belong to Christ who see trials differently because they misunderstand the purpose of a trial. For these, a trial is a sign of judgment from God because of a Christian’s disobedience to Christ. For these folks, if anything but smooth sailing is experienced by Christians then there is something very wrong in that Christian’s life. They could not be more wrong about this. If we properly understand the purpose of trials, then our attitude about them and about God will change.

In James 1 we get to see the purpose of trials. Lets take a look at a few verses in James 1:

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

In v. 2 our attitude should be one of joy. Lets keep this in mind when considering trials. In v. 3 we see that when our faith is tested through a trial, it produces endurance – translated “perseverance” in a previous article. But this is not the purpose of a trial. This is a step toward the purpose of the trial. To understand the purpose of the trial and why we should have an attitude of joy while encountering a trial, we must look intently at v. 4.

in v. 4, endurance has its perfect (or complete) result. That result is that we are “perfect and complete lacking in nothing.” So, when we endure a trial, the result of the endurance is that we get a part that is missing. That missing part, whatever it is, is necessary for us to be Christ-like. SO our experiencing trials, while seldom pleasant, is always necessary to our development. We wont arrive at our “perfect and complete” state in this life. But we will (or at least should) be progressing more and more toward Christ-likeness.

So how are you doing enduring trials? How is your attitude? Do you think that persevering through a trial is because you have done something wrong and the great Soup Nazi in the sky is saying “No Grace for you! Now get out!” If you do think this way, you need to rethink your position.

If you get bummed by trials, think about how God is perfecting you. Think about how He is getting rid of the impurities of your life through the heat of the caldron of trials. And focus on where God is taking you. He is moving you toward perfection. He is making you more Christ-like. More like Christ. More like Him.

“Whatever it Takes”

Hymn by: Lanny Wolfe

There’s a voice calling me
From an old rugged tree
And He whispers draw closer to me
Leave this world far behind
There are new heights to climb
And a new place in me you will find

For whatever it takes to draw closer to you Lord
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
For whatever it takes to be more like you
That’s what I’ll be willing to do

Take the dearest things to me
If that’s how it must be
To draw me closer to thee
Let the disappointments come
Lonely days without the sun
If through sorrow more like you I become

For whatever it takes to draw closer to you Lord
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
For whatever it takes to be more like you
That’s what I’ll be willing to do

Take my houses and lands
Change my dreams, change my plans
For I’m placing my whole life in your hands
And if you call me today
To a place faraway
Lord I’ll go and your will obey.

I’ll trade sunshine for rain
Comfort for pain
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
For whatever it takes for my will to break
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
That’s what I’ll be willing to do

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