Some trials that we face happen simply because we are human and because we live in a fallen world full of sin, sickness, accidents and disappointments. Other trials come our way because we are Christians: Peter emphasizes this in his first letter, look at I Peter 4:12-16

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf."

Note that Peter said if we suffer "as a Christian" that it is a reason for praise & rejoicing, but if we suffer because our sin has caused us to suffer, that is not a cause for rejoicing, that is a self inflicted necessary trial.

And so we need to realize that trials will come and we therefore should not be surprised by them. In fact we can and should look at them as opportunities to grow and learn more about the Lord and what He is trying to teach us.

Story:

A gardener took great pride in caring for his lawn. But one year it grew full of dandelions. He tried every method and product to get rid of them, but nothing worked. Exasperated, he wrote the Department of Agriculture explaining all he had done. "What shall I try next?" he wrote. "Try getting used to them," came the reply

Poem:

God has not promised skies always blue, Flower-strewn pathways all our life through;

God has not promised sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God has promised strength for the day, Rest for the labor, light for the way;

Grace for the trials, help from above, Unfailing sympathy, and undying love.

Next, B) Trials Are Varied ,

Verse two says,

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."

The word diverse means various different or manifold temptations. James tells us that not all trials are the same, they come in many different shapes, sizes, intensities and durations.

In verses 9-11 of James chapter one he gives an example of 2 trials that can be very difficult.

"Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted, But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways."

Both of these examples involve the changing of ones economic status. We see a rich man becoming poor AND a poor man becoming rich. The faithful Christian will not allow his relationship with God to be effected by financial fluctuations. Yet, both of these situations provide a serious trial and test of ones faith.

Story:

In 1929 when the stock market crashed many people lost their entire fortunes in mere hours and with their fortunes went their hopes, many jumped from buildings in New York City to their death. To lose all you have is a serious test of ones faith. Just look at Job.

But of the two trials (poor to rich and rich to poor), perhaps the greater test of ones faith is prosperity. The bible is full of examples of people who did all right when times were tough, but then crumbled spiritually when they were living in prosperity.

The greatest generation that I believe our nation ever produced went through both the great depression and World War II!

-King Saul was so humble when he first was anointed King of Israel that he went back home to the farm, but after reigning for awhile he became so arrogant that he offered up his own sacrifice, instead of waiting for Samuel to do it.

-King David was so pure that God called him a man after his own heart, but after David had been king for awhile he committed adultery and then murder.

One popular talk show once had listeners call in if they had won the lottery and it had made their life better.....the only people who called were ones telling stories of how there new found prosperity ruined their lives.

You see, prosperity seems to bring a subtle seduction that erodes character and value. J. Oswald Chambers said, "not every man can handle a full cup..." (Maybe, if you are not rich God has done you a favor and is in reality blessing you.)

James in these verses uses the example of economic trials, but we can experience personal trials, health trials, relationship trials, family trials...and so on.

And so we see, Trials will come... they come in various shapes and sizes, but no matter what the trial, God Has Given Us A Command

In verse two, James says that regardless of they type of trial we are experiencing God commands us to consider it and to regard it, as a cause for rejoicing. "Count it all joy."

The first thing we need to do in order to turn our trials into triumphs is to make a conscious decision to put our trust in God and in his provision and to have a joyful attitude. It’s a command! I know that this is not our natural response but God didn’t just say "count it all joy", and not tell us how to accomplish this most difficult task. And so verses 3-12 were written to tell us how to accomplish this seemingly impossible task.

Not only must we have a joyful attitude but

#2) We Must Develop An Understanding Mind:

Look at verses 3 &4,

"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

James uses the present tense of the word "know" when he says, "knowing or because you know", the word means to know or understand through personal observation & experience.

To overcome trials/to turn them into triumphs; we must know/we must understand something. AND this knowledge comes about by observation & experience.

I’d like to share a couple of things that we need to understand and know if we are ever going to turn our trials into triumphs and count it all joy.

FIRST; We Need To Understand That "Faith Is Always Tested"

Faith must like gold be tested to see if it is real. Gold must pass through a fiery furnace in order for the precious metal to be separated from the dross or the impurities, and thereby be identified as genuine Gold.

James is teaching here that the trials of this life are the fiery furnace that our faith must pass through to determine that our faith is genuine.

My faith is not pure gold, your faith is not pure gold, and our trials are like a furnace whereby we can leave behind some dross (impurities)

Job said that we are tested so that we may come forth as gold. Whatever you are going through today, I want you to know that the Lord may be testing your faith to see if it’s genuine.

1Peter 1:6 & 7 says,

"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations (same word that James uses): That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."

Who or what are you trusting in? Trusting in Christ is a genuine faith that fails not and if you’re your trusting in anything else but Christ, then your faith is like sinking sand.

SECOND; We Need To Understand That The Testing Is Not Against Us But For Us

The scripture that we quoted earlier, Romans 8:28 says,

"All things work together for good."

We can know that even while we are walking through the darkest valley, even though it looks as if a glimmer of light will never appear, we can know that God is with us AND that He will work it out for our good.

We Must Understand The Goal Or End Result Of Our Testing. There is a purpose, there is a goal connected with each trial we face. God’s goal for our lives, is spiritual maturity. And God accomplishes this through the testing of our faith which leads to perseverance and patience. Spiritually immature people are always impatient and they easily quit. Spiritually mature people on the other hand, are patient and persistent. They have a stick-to-it-iveness that weathers the storms of adversity and disappointment.

In Romans 5:3 Paul says,

"we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience."

Understand this fact, the only way the Lord can develop patience & character in our lives is through trials. Endurance can not be attained by reading a book, attending a class, or just listening to a tape on how to overcome adversity. We must go through the difficulties of life, trust God and obey Him.

Third, We Must Ask God for Wisdom:

Look again at James 1:5-8,

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."

James says that we need a wisdom greater than our own in order to see trials as a reason for rejoicing. And for that he says we need to ask of God!

But We Need To Ask In Faith

There is a condition connected to God giving us wisdom to handle trials, we have to ask believing and not doubting. The one who asks doubting James says is like the wave of the sea up one moment and down the next... Believing then doubting.

What an INCREDIBLE promise God has given us, he promises to give us the wisdom we need to see our trials as a cause for rejoicing... This is how we can rejoice in the midst of our trials and testings!

Now you may be wondering, "why do we need wisdom when we are going through a trial, why can’t we just ask for deliverance?

For this reason: So we will not waste the opportunity that God is giving us to mature...

Fourth, We Must Direct our attention to the Prize

What Is The Prize?

James 1:12,

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."

Well there are really 2 prizes that James mentions in verse 12; one is an earthly prize we will receive while still on earth. James says we will be blessed. It means happy, peaceful, or joyful. It is a joy that is real independent of the external circumstances of life.

The second prize is an eternal prize, it is the crown of life. It is the wreathe of victory that God will place on the head of his children and say, "well done though good and faithful servant." It is one of the rewards for our faithfulness in this life.

How about you this morning? Are you going through a trial today?

The Bible says "Count it all joy!" The Lord is working in your life to perfect and mature you.

Maybe you are here and you’re not a Christian. You’ve never trusted Christ as your Savior. Then you cannot even begin to imagine the peace that comes with going through these trials with the Lord guiding and directing my coming and my going. Don’t go through it alone. Trust Him today and let Him take your burden and trial upon Him.

Maybe you’re a Christian and you are experiencing some type of trial in your life and you need to come before the throne of Grace and ask for wisdom from Him to help in these times in life.

Whatever your need is, you come this morning and call out to the Lord.