Trials and Afflictions
Barnabas, “son of consolation” (Acts 4:36)., a person Luke described as “a good man” (11:24), was chosen and sent by the Jerusalem church to investigate the mixed congregation of Jews and Gentiles in Syrian Antioch.
Jesus once asked his disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am” (Matt 16:13)? Who was Jesus anyway? Most people of His day viewed Him as some sort of prophet (John
Most of us live hurried lives. We are hard pressed at work, at home, and at church to accomplish more than a twenty-four hour day seems to allow. The demands are overwhelming. In fact, full
The entry this week focuses on the trials and afflictions of believers. Often these times turn out to be blessings in disguise. In the very beginning of his epistle, James described his relationship to the Lord. He spoke of himself as “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1;1). Countless thousands of God’s people have suffered and died because of their association with the Lord.
It is interesting to note that James did not focus on the fact that he was a kin in the flesh to Jesus. He chose to identify himself as the servant to Christ. There is an important lesson for us in this spiritual association between James and Jesus. We should focus on being His servants even though He is our Saviour. Being saved obligates one to serve. The epistle of James points this out perhaps more than any other book in the Bible. It speaks not only of trials, temptations, and afflictions but also of patience. James wrote, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (1:2-3). We are told to exercise the Christian grace of joy even amid afflictions. The world’s philosophy tells us to be calm in our troubles, but Christianity tells us to be joyful. Trials can bring unusual joy at times when the ordinary calls for sorrow and sadness.
Another virtue that is mentioned in our Scripture text is wisdom. Practically everything that touches our lives requires some degree of wisdom. Regarding this subject, we read, “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 to him” (vs. 5). Our God is the source of all wisdom, and only He can bestow upon us that which we need. We must not fear to ask Him for wisdom. To waver in asking Him shows doubt and insecurity in His promise. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (4:16).
Afflictions and trials must not cause Christians to become unsteady and shaken. One who is driven and tossed about by the wind, not exercising unwavering faith, will not receive anything of the Lord.