A Compilation of messages that explain Bible verses on this topic.
WE CAN REJOICE DURING TRIALS, KNOWING THAT THEY CAUSE US TO GROW IN ENDURANCE AND SPIRITUAL MATURITY
Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. - James 1:2-3 (AMP)
The effects of the same trial are not the same for all people. Something that might be devastating for one Christian, might be minor for another one. We have all followed different paths in life and have faced different hardships. So, whatever we have to deal with, we are not told to rejoice for the pain, but to have the right perspective about it. And that is God’s perspective.
In the Good News Version Bible, the above verses are written like this: “My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure.” We can be certain that every hardship is a test of our faith. The more tests we pass, the stronger our faith gets and the better we handle hardships. Experience is very important in every area of life, especially in our walk with Jesus. The better we endure a bad situation, keeping a right attitude and a good heart, the more we mature spiritually and the better we become at keeping our inner peace in the midst of any storm. Our peace and joy should not be based on circumstances, but in knowing who God is and how He changes every bad thing into something good for us.
TRIBULATIONS TEST OUR FAITH
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. – 1 Peter 4:12-13 When we are unjustly persecuted, the enemy tries to tempt us to doubt the kindness and love of the Lord. But we need to understand that persecution is not from God and that He is always for us. The Lord will bring something good even from the bad things that happen to us. By realizing this, we will be able to resist the lies of the enemy and remain firm in our trust that the Lord will see us through.
God cares for our suffering and puts the right thoughts in the minds of those who plan evil things against us. But because we all have the freedom to choose, they can choose not to listen to what the Lord says and continue to do what the evil one urges them to do.
Heavenly eternal rewards are unimaginably wonderful and in store for all who “partake of Christ’s sufferings” and if we think of what awaits us in heaven, we can better overcome the pains and problems we have now. It is worthwhile to suffer because we are Christ's and will spend eternity in heaven! Even if we were to have to suffer for a hundred years, compared to eternity that never ends, it is just a moment!
BY GOD’S GRACE WE CAN OVERCOME ALL TRIALS
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9 Once we understand how wonderful the grace of the Lord is, how much we have received through grace, in our life here on earth, and especially in heaven for eternity, we can face the trials, persecution and suffering of this life in a better way. Even if we should have to go through many years of suffering while living in this body, it would not even be considered a moment, compared to eternity. It is worth the fight and cost to remain on the path of faith, because eternity is determined by what we do here now. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, about the hardships and suffering he went through, because of confessing his faith in Jesus, and yet, even while being imprisoned, he wrote to the Philippians and to us implicitly, to rejoice in the Lord.
For a clearer understanding, let's see how “Thayer's Greek Lexicon” translates the Greek word “charis,” which is translated as “grace” to us: “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; it can also mean: good will, loving-kindness, favor; or: of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues." The term can be also used for the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace or for the token or proof of grace, benefit. It can also be a gift of grace, benefit, bounty, orthanks, (for benefits, services, favors), recompense, reward.As a conclusion we might say that grace is God’s love in action.
WE MAY REJOICE THAT THE TRIALS OF LIFE ARE JUST FOR A LITTLE WHILE, COMPARED TO ETERNITY
In this (Your salvation) you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, You have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of Your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, - 1 Peter 1:6-7
The greatest joy for us as Christians, is that when we will leave this earth, we will spend our eternity where Jesus went to prepare a place for us! Salvation is the most powerful and certain source of joy. But no one can make it to heaven without having their faith tested through various trials!
Life with Jesus does not spare us of problems and suffering. The enemy uses every opportunity to attack us but the Lord only allows ones that we can learn from. We are tested everyday so that we may find out what it is truly in our hearts. Once we know what we still need to change, we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us do it. If we do not learn what the Lord wants us to learn from each test, we will have to go through the same test again and again, until we pass it. Then, from time to time, we will go through the same test, so that we will not forget it.
All of us, who pass the tests of faith, will praise, glorify, and honor Jesus when He comes on the clouds of heaven, at the rapture! The lost will be horrified and will have serious reason to fear. They will glorify the Lord too, but out of fear, not of love. But for us it will be the end of hardship and suffering and the beginning of eternal, glorious and happy life where our Lord Jesus is!
GOD USES ALL THAT HAPPENS TO US FOR OUR GOOD IN THE LONG TERM
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28
Because we are God’s children, we love Him and are called according to His purpose, we qualify for the first part of the verse too. Many non-believers, while going through hardships, quote this verse for themselves. But this verse does not apply to those who do not truly love God and are not called “according to [His] design and purpose.”
How encouraging it is to realize that God makes all things to work together for our good, as He is always working in our behalf. It does not say that God uses just the good things or that all are good. The beauty is that God takes all things, good and bad, and makes them work together in such a way, that if we continue to trust in Him, we will reap good fruit even out of all the bad we are going through. This proves that whatever the enemy intends for our harm and destruction, God uses for our benefit in the long term. Glory to God!
WE CAN OVERCOME THE CHALLENGES OF LIFE THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed - 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
The apostles went through very hard times for their belief in Jesus. They suffered all kinds of persecution, and as Paul wrote here, they chose to see the good in every bad situation they had to go through. We can learn great lessons from their examples. If we start to praise Jesus and thank Him for all the good in our lives, when going through suffering, the Holy Spirit will strengthen us and we can overcome it all.
Even if what we are going through cannot be compared with what Jesus or even the apostles suffered, we may find ourselves at times in life when we are hard-pressed from all sides, but we can be sure that our Lord will not allow us to be crushed. Circumstances might shock us, but because we trust in Jesus and know that He will help us overcome, we keep our hope alive and not despair. Even if others are persecuting us for our faith and even our relatives and friends forsake us, our Lord remains in us, if we remain in Him. Whenever trials are so hard that they could strike us down, we cannot be destroyed, because our Lord will get us back on our feet, as we continue to call on Him and trust in His strength, love and mercy.
NOTHING CAN DESTROY GOD’S CHILDREN
We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. - 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 Life is not easy for anyone. We all have our own battles and share of suffering. The apostle Paul suffered more than all the other apostles, but he chose to see the bright side of every bad situation and not lose faith. Paul’s strength while being persecuted for his faith, came from knowing how much God loved him and how much Jesus had to suffer for our salvation. You might say that you are not Paul. That is true and neither am I. But the principle is the same. We all suffer, even if we do not like it or ask for it, but we choose the way we respond to it. The only way to remain faithful is by choosing to look at Jesus and see the bright side of everything. The Lord never lets us go through something we cannot handle or conquer through Him. As long as we remain in Jesus, no pressure can truly crush us; nothing can get us so confused that we would despair; no matter how bad the persecutions are, God never leaves us alone and even if we are struck down, we are never destroyed. Jesus said, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”. Even if our persecutor kills us, that is a blessing for God’s children, because in an instant we will be with Jesus in heaven. There is nothing we should fear, except disobeying God.
CAN WE HAVE A JOYFUL ATTITUDE IN TRIBULATIONS?
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. - Romans 5:3-4 We as Christians are not only happy that we will make it to heaven but we can be happy in the lives we live now. The Greek word, “kauchaomai,” means more than just glory, it means “to boast or glory (exult) proudly,” according to “Strong’s Concordance.” This sounds okay until we read that we are to have a joyful attitude in tribulations. Worrying and fear have never solved any of our problems, but only made them worse. But if we choose to do what the Lord teaches us in His Word, we may enjoy our lives more fully every day. Whenever we need to decide what to do while going through hardships, distresses or troubles, it is not hard to realize that it is much better to find joy in the fact that we may learn something new while going through tribulations and we can truly become more patient. The more endurance we have, the longer it takes to get offended, lose our temper and our character changes for the good. The more spiritual maturity we have, the calmer our attitude is and the better we treat others and even ourselves. All this results in greater hope for the future and in having a confident assurance in our eternal salvation.
WITH THE LORD WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS
Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” - Numbers 14:9
Having the right perspective on things and the right heart changes everything. From the previous chapter we learn that God told Moses to send twelve spies, one from each tribe, into the land of Canaan, which the Lord was giving to the children of Israel. After the spies returned, ten of them, whose hearts were not fully the Lord’s, gave a bad report, as they saw only the strength of Canaanites and caused the whole nation to fear to do what God told them to do and rebel against Moses and Aaron.
Only Joshua and Caleb, who truly loved the Lord and trusted His promises, saw the Canaanites’ weaknesses and believed that God would truly help the Jews conquer the promised land. The Canaanites had reached their peak in their iniquities ways and God was to give them into the hand of His people. But their punishment was delayed for forty years, because of the Jews doubt and rebellious hearts. Each of us have certain territory to conquer, in order to make God’s promises come to pass in our lives. We can truly receive what God promised us in His Word or by what He specifically told us, directly or through other Christians, if we do not doubt and act on it. Their unwillingness to conquer the land, caused the nation of Israel to wander in the desert for forty years, one year for each of the 40 days that the spies investigated the Canaan land. Disobedience can have a very high price!
GOD GIVES US THE VICTORY IF WE ARE WISE IN WHAT IS GOOD AND INNOCENT ABOUT WHAT IS EVIL
For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. - Romans 16:19-20
These verses prove that it is not enough to be obedient at some point in our Christian walk and then stop paying attention to the way we live. Paul writes this epistle to God’s children in Rome, who had renounced serving the evil gods and then followed Jesus with all their hearts. Paul is praising them for their faith, which at that time was famous in all the world (Romans 1:8). Even so, being led by the Holy Spirit, the apostle is urging them to continue to use wisdom in choosing what is good and live unpolluted with evil. That advice is for us too and it involves all our daily choices.
Whenever we choose right, our Lord “will crush Satan under our feet,” by helping us to identify and not accept the lies and tricks that the enemy uses in his attempts to destroy us. In the name of Jesus we have the authority to resist the devil and oppose him. If Jesus would not have made peace between us and God, Satan would have the right to torment and keep us in bondage and misery forever. Without our Lord’s grace, none of us would make it!