Let us never forget my brethren, that God wants all of His people to know Him, to have knowledge of Him and His ways. He wants us to know good doctrine, to know His Word. This will develop the mind of Christ in us and then He will give us wisdom and discernment based on that knowledge as we ask Him and learn to understand this life according to His Word. He liberally gives wisdom to His people who ask Him and pursue the truth according to His Word. Notice that Christians can ask for wisdom from God with wrong motives. I believe that this was my problem for many years until God turned me around. I had a lot of Bible knowledge, however, my focus was backwards. Therefore, I did not ask in faith, but in doubt. When I learned that my role in God’s Kingdom is to bring Him glory, everything changed.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:3-7 (NASB)
When God saves a person, he/she is changed forever. However, they are not at the spiritual maturity level that God desires for His people. Therefore, from that point until they go home to be with their Lord all genuine Christians will go through a series of tests and trials that put pressure on their faith. This pressure is spiritual, but the circumstances applying it come from all directions and sources. The Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh that put his faith to test to the point that he implored the Lord to take it away.
7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NASB)
We do not know what Paul’s ‘thorn’ was, but it resulted in him being in a severe test. This test caused him to plead with the Lord three times to take it away. However, notice that God’s response was to allow the ‘thorn’ while sustaining Paul by His grace in the midst of it. What was Paul’s response to that? I know that when I was a younger Christian that I would read this passage and wonder where God’s grace was in my tests and trials. However, nowadays things are different. I still do not like suffering, but I have learned that I am a Christian for God’s glory and for my Lord’s sake, not for myself at all.
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 (NASB)
The Greek word for “consider,” ἡγέομαι (hēgeomai), can also be translated as “count” or “evaluate.” We are to examine our circumstances, but according to James, no matter what our trials consist of, we are to respond in joy. We are commanded here to make a conscious commitment to face them with joy. The Greek word for “trials” here is πειρασμός (peirasmos). The KJV translates this word here as “temptations.” In this context, James is giving us the word picture of circumstances that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy, and happiness in one’s life. The verb form of πειρασμός means, “to put someone or something to the test.” The purpose of doing this is to discover a person’s nature or the quality of their character. God allows or brings these tests to bear in our lives to prove and increase the strength and quality of our faith and to demonstrate its validity (James 2:12).