Joe Gibbs on Trials in Life
Gibbs discusses how he handles trials and tests in his life by following some basic points from the book of James. These points include:
- Count everything for joy.
- God doesn’t put us through trouble for trouble’s sake.
- The trying of your faith works toward patience.
- If you lack wisdom, ask God.
- Once you have made a decision, don’t waver.
- Blessings will follow temptation.
- Testing will either drive us toward or away from God.
- Trouble doesn’t come to stay.
We would also like to give you a Free New Testament Bible.
Trials in Life
I want to share something personal. Lots of time when I share things with you from an inspirational standpoint, I’m usually talking to myself.
About 6 weeks ago, I happened to be sitting in my office and I got a phone call and basically the phone call was about a situation that had developed. I could tell at that very moment that this was going to be a time of real trial in my life. Maybe some of you are facing something similar. You may be in the middle of a trial. And certainly at some point in our lives you are going to see things show up and at that very moment you are going to know that this is going to be a tough situation for you to go through and it is not something that is going to go away in a short period of time. When this thing started I knew that it was going to be a real trial and immediately started praying.
In this particular case, it had to do with our race team. When you stop and think about this, it is something that we started 21 years ago. It is family owned and we now have 430 people working here. It’s a huge responsibility and lots of times myself, J.D., Coy and Pat think about all the people that count on us. There’s also a lot of sponsors here so there is a lot involved when you have a family business. This situation developed and I want to share with you what developed during this period of time.
The first thing that happened was I turned to my daily Bible study and as I picked up the study where I had been, I realized it is amazing how God works through the Bible. He left us a game plan for life and he also knows every single thing that is going on in our lives. He knew in this particular situation that I was going to be going through a trial. Where I was in my Bible study happened to be in the first chapter of James. It was obvious God was taking me through a journey with His word on how I should deal with this particular trial in my life. Having said that, as I started this study, which really is the first 12 verses of the first chapter of James, He took me on a little study and that study I felt like has helped prepare me and walk me through this particular tough time in my life. I even made a little study sheet on it and I carry it with me now because I know this is not going to be the only trial that I will be facing at some point in my life.
Let me share with you the encouragement that I got. The very first thing that shows up in the first chapter of James is something that is kind of wild. What it says is this: Count it all joy when you are going through a trial. I gotta tell you that is a tough one. Let me read to you the very first verse:
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:
My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations…
So basically the very first thing on my “cheat sheet” says this: COUNT IT ALL JOYFUL. How are you going to be joyful? I’m looking at this thing thinking I am going to be going through the biggest mess, but really when you stop and think about it we know that many things are too big for us, but nothing is too big for God.
The second thing is that GOD DOES NOT PUT US THROUGH TROUBLE FOR TROUBLE’S SAKE. There is always going to be a purpose when he puts us through something tough. In other words, it is not just going to be a test or time of trial for trial’s sake, it is going to be the fact there is a purpose in it. Basically the way J. Vernon describes it is this: James goes on to make it clear that God does not give us trouble for trouble’s sake.
The third point takes us to the third verse in James. Basically this is what it says: knowing this: that the trying of your faith worketh patience. Now that for me is a big deal. I’m not patient. I have a tendency when I see something like this I want to dive into it. I am not at peace with myself until I get this thing worked out. It is hard for me to be patient when I am going through things. I don’t know about you guys but that really spoke to me. THE TRYING OF YOUR FAITH WORKS TOWARD PATIENCE.
The fourth thing is: IF YOU LACK WISDOM, THEN ASK GOD. Many times I have a tendency to barrel off into something but God has said we can have wisdom if we ask Him. This comes up in Verse 5: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. In other words, it’s a promise that if we ask for wisdom, we are going to get wisdom.
Five is DO NOT WAVER ONCE YOU HAVE MADE A DECISION. This is a tough one for me many times. But God says once you have made a decision and you have prayed to him and asked him for guidance, leadership and direction, don’t waver back and forth. That comes up in Verse 6: But let him ask in faith, never wavering; for he who wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. In other words, make our decision and don’t waver.
The next key point here is (and this is really a good one for me because J. Vernon has a way of saying it the way I need to hear it) if you are going to work it out, then you don’t need God. He kind of paints the picture here. He says many times we act like a bull in a china closet and that speaks to me. In other words, I go charging off into something like a bull in a china closet. I am destroying stuff and knocking stuff down. I am all over the place. Because I don’t have that patience, I am hard after it. So I think the point is: IF YOU ARE ASKING GOD TO HELP YOU WORK THIS OUT, THEN WE SHOULD HAVE FAITH KNOWING HE IS GOING TO HELP US.
The next point that is made on my “cheat sheet” is TRIALS DON’T MEAN THAT GOD DOESN’T LOVE US. As a matter of fact, we should be joyful when we see a trial flare up. It means God is working in our life. That is something we can be joyful about. In other words if I am just cruising through life in cruise control, God says “no” because He needs to be working in our lives and these trials are going to help you advance. That’s exciting – knowing that God is involved with us and we see trials. It means God is working in our lives so that is exciting for us.
BLESSINGS WILL FOLLOW TEMPTATION. Verse 12 says that Blessed is the man who endureth temptation; for when he has been tried, he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to those who love Him. I think this is a great one because once we have gone through the trial and endured temptation, we will be blessed.
TESTING WILL EITHER DRIVE US TO OR AWAY FROM GOD. So what’s it going to be? What is it going to be for you and me? Is it going to cause me to question Him and ask “why am I going through this? “ Or is it going to drive me closer to Him? I think that is a key point. I want to go closer to God because I know in my life I have trials and temptations and I want to be going closer to God and seeking his guidance, leadership and direction.
The very last point that is made in the first chapter of James is TROUBLE DOESN’T COME TO STAY. Isn’t that great? In my life, I have gone through a lot of trouble, a lot of trials and a lot of temptations but here’s the great thing – over a period of time trouble doesn’t stay. If I’m on God’s team, then I know at some point I am going to have peace and this is going to be resolved.
I’m going to direct those of you who might have a personal trial you are dealing with by yourself. It could be an occupational situation with your work, it could be in a relationship or an addiction. Whatever your trial is, I just encourage you. This chapter of James encouraged me and could be a big chapter for you.
I ask you to go to GamePlanforLife.com. We have a free gift there for you. Would love to send you a New Testament study Bible that we send out free of charge. We also have other things on our website that might encourage you.
I appreciate you joining me today. I hope it meant something to you.