Trials and Temptations, Pain, and Suffering – By Darla Martinez

1 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

As children of God we place a different definition on joy than that of the world, and because of that mindset we are able to consider it pure joy to go through trials and temptations, pain and suffering. Although painful, we understand that there is a spiritual purpose for our suffering. It is to draw us into a closer relationship with God, and to increase our faith. When we have won spiritual victory through our trial then we are called by Jesus to take our experience and strengthen others. Since we know there is a purpose far above anything of this world we are able to persevere with the help of our Father in Heaven. Trials are ultimately a blessing. When we respond properly we will grow from them. God’s glory will be evident for others to witness. It is a form of evangelism. I came across this formula while researching this scripture in James 1:2-4. When you look at his words of encouragement you can see this formula: TRIALS –TESTING –PERSEVERANCE –MATURITY.

In order for us to have fruitful growth in our faith Peter instructs us in 2 Peter 1: 5-11 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Perseverance is a spiritual discipline. It is necessary for us to grow to maturity in our faith relationship with God and to be fruitful in our walk.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Ps. 30:5 As Christians we are not sheltered from the pain and sorrow from the hurts of this world. The pain reminds us that this world is not our home. The joy that comes in the morning is the joy of what we have become through our suffering. It is like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. There is this great change that happens. The body of the caterpillar completely breaks down and is unrecognizable. When it is finished with its transformation it erupts as a beautiful, completely new life creation. I have had the honor to minister to Christian men and women facing the trials of serious life threatening illness. As I have ministered to them through their journey I have been able to witness how they spiritually transform. Those who put their hope and complete dependency upon God develop a supernatural joy even when it seems that things are hopeless. The joy is not in the pain, but in what they are becoming through it. The joy is that of a deeper richer faith and personal relationship with God. When we suffer God shares with us a closer glimpse of Himself. We must look for Him through our pain.

Finally, in Philippians 3:10 (NLT) Paul states that he wants to partake in the sufferings of Christ and to share in His death. What in the world does that mean? Let’s look at this scripture together and I’ll explain it to you.

Paul writes: 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

Paul is saying here that he wants more than an intellectual knowledge of Christ. He also wants a relational knowledge, in fact, an intimate knowledge of Him. Paul is seeking here the on going power that is the day-to-day experience of being in Christ. Paul sees the value of participating in the persecutions and struggles that naturally accompany one who is in fellowship with Christ and His sufferings. Paul desires to imitate Christ even in His death. In other words Paul wants to be completely obedient to God the Father, just as Jesus was obedient to His Father’s Will. When you find yourself suffering in some form or fashion, or if you feel that you have not suffered yet in your life, let me assure you one day you will, because that is the way of this world. Be obedient, suffer for righteous sake, just as Christ did and as Paul longed for and as Peter instructed in his first letter and you will be able to count it all joy just as James has taught us. Your faith will be strengthened, your relationship with the Lord will be stronger and deeper, your prayers will be much more passionate and you will be a more effective servant. Suffering gives us a chance to correct, change and rebuild our faith in areas where we find ourselves weak. When you suffer draw near to God and He will draw near to you! Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up! That is a promise! One last Scripture Heb. 5:8, God chose this practical but lasting way for His own son. “He learned obedience from the things which he suffered.”

~sometimes I just gotta write~