Beyond the Weekend

November 15 | Trials and Testing

November 15, 2021


Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds… James 1:2

Read: James 1:1-5
James 1


A couple of decades after Jesus’s resurrection, his brother James writes a letter to Jewish Christians scattered outside Israel. James holds a prominent leadership position in the early church at Jerusalem when he hears about the challenges believers endure across the Roman Empire. He writes to encourage these Jesus-followers as they face tremendous pressure, hardship and even persecution for their faith. James starts his letter with the shocking instruction to choose joy during their trials.

Choosing joy and gratitude is not an automatic response to difficult seasons. Yet we can trust God is at work in and around us and desires to do something good in us through these challenges. As we develop the habit of turning our hearts in gratitude to God, especially in our trials, he shapes our hearts to match his. We may not understand what he is doing yet, but we learn to trust him more deeply through it.

We can’t avoid adversity in life, and these challenges will shape us. They will either make us bitter, or we can allow God to move through them to make us more like Jesus. Developing a habit of gratitude points us toward Jesus, especially in seasons of adversity. This week, we’ll see how God offers the gifts of perspective, perseverance, transformation and dependence through trials.


Reflect on a difficult season in your life that led to a closer relationship with God. Thank God for how he deepened your faith in him and grew your character to be more like Jesus. List that challenging time on your 26 DAYS OF GRATITUDE handout today (


Join us this year as we read through the New Testament.

Today’s reading is 1 Peter 4.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.

You Might Also Like