Trials!

The Olympic Trials are a spectacular event. Young athletes from all over the United States compete for the few coveted spots on the US Olympic team.

Of all the Olympic hopefuls, swimmers endure some of the most grueling training schedules. They practice before dawn. Miss out on vacations. Barely remember a lazy day off.  Pretty much sacrifice a normal life—all for the chance to make it to the Olympic Trials.  “Training for trials” has become familiar jargon around here since our youngest son happens to be a competitive swimmer.

As believers we, too, should train for our trials. Like any good coach, James encourages us to face our trials head on: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2 NIV).

I’m so glad you’ve dropped in for our One Word Devotional:  “Journey through James.” Today’s focus is on the word trials. Have you thought about how your daily routine of prayer, reading God’s Word, listening, and obeying—day after day after day—prepares you to stand strong when you are faced with a trial?

Training for trials prepares you for the battles ahead.  Dear friend, do you love the fight of faith? Paul calls it a “good fight” (1 Timothy 6:12).  It’s been said that we should love the fight of faith in the same way an athlete loves his sport.

I don’t know if I’d say I love trials.  But there’s something invigorating about approaching each day on the offensive. Strengthening myself in God’s Word. Being intentional about prayer.

I should walk away from my devotional time armed and ready.  Expectant and watchful.  Alert to signs of God at work. Prepared for opportunities to step out in faith.  Ready to share the Gospel. Meet a need. Take back territory from the enemy.  Determined to stand strong in the inevitable trials of life.

Let’s reflect on the rest of this passage from James:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4 NIV).

Meditate on these verses, paying special attention to the word trials. Notice that James takes us beyond merely enduring trials.  He encourages us to consider our trials as an opportunity for joy. The very tools God uses to strengthen us, build endurance, make us complete!

Think about the joy of an athlete winning his race. What if that same kind of joy awaits us when we prevail in our trial?  Today, let’s agree to train for our trials. And look forward to our victory through Christ!


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