Following Jesus 141

Following Jesus: The Progress of the Pilgrim.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 ESV)

Trials may refer to an inward temptation or an enticement to sin (I Timothy 6:9). However, in this context it is referring to external persecution for one’s faith in Christ (I Peter 4:12). “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery “trial” when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12 ESV). 

The word “trials” comes from the Greek word Πειρασμός (periasmos). It means to test someone or something. To know by experience. To prove the worth of someone. To see if someone or something is sound. The difficulties God allows for the proving and strengthening of our faith. Are trials something Christians (followers of Christ) should expect? Yes!

What kind of trials? Trials of various kinds. The word “various” means a variety. Many kinds, types and different ways. Not one trial. Multi-colored. It is the Greek word, “poikilois,” in which commentators speculate we get our English word, polka dot. It refers to the diversity of troubles that can come our way. Trials may occur in our lives in a diversified manner.

Here is but a sampling from Scripture regarding trials. 

Job 5:7. For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, 7 but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.

Matthew 5:10-11. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12 ESV)

John 15:20. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (John 15:18-20 ESV)

John 16:33. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)

Acts 20:23. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. (Acts 20:22-23 ESV)

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