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Just don't be surprised when you wake up one morning with an enormous trial in front of you. Instead, grasp it with both hands, and consider it pure joy. It is a fairly strong hint from the Lord that you are going to receive the anointing you desire.

Of course, James does not specifically use the word "anointing." His exact words are, "Consider it pure joy…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance" (James 1:1-3, emphasis added).

What does perseverance have to do with anointing? Perseverance is the next step forward—the link to a brilliant future. God does not lead us from A to Z, but from A to B.

During a trial, the immediate need is for perseverance. It is not the ultimate goal; but it is what enables you to reach the goal that James envisions: "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:4).

By dignifying your trial, James says, you will reach a place of indescribable peace and the highest level of anointing. You will have a soul uncluttered by greed and a heart filled with the very presence of God. You will experience pure joy.

Are you ready to dignify your trials and experience more joy and a greater anointing than you have ever known? Here are eight steps you can take when your time of testing comes:

1. Welcome the trial. Welcome your trial as you would welcome the Holy Spirit; for it is the Holy Spirit who is behind the whole ordeal, along with the Father and the Son. Even though the beginning of a trial can be painful, say to the Lord, "I know You have sent this to me, and I want to get the maximum benefit You had in mind when You ordained it." This way, you begin to dignify the trial from the first moment.

2. Don't panic. Satan's immediate goal when he is given permission to attack is to get you to panic. This is why he is compared to a roaring lion (see 1 Pet. 5:8). The reason for the roar is to intimidate and cause fear and panic—to make you think you are defeated even before anything has happened.

Remember that God OK'd your trial before it came to you. He reckoned that you were able to cope, or He would not have allowed it (see 1 Cor. 10:13). As the psalmist put it, "Do not fret—it leads only to evil" (Ps. 37:8).

3. See the trial as a compliment to you from God. The kind of trial that God has allowed you to have is very possibly one that could not be granted to others around you. Whereas your first reaction (understandably) may be to feel sorry for yourself, on reflection you should be able to see that God gave this trial to you for one reason: You are up to it.

4. Never forget that God allowed the trial. This point must be stressed because Satan wants you to feel sorry for yourself, point the finger at others, and become angry and bitter toward God. Instead, when a trial comes, stop and realize: This scenario has passed through God's filtering process. He could have stopped it, yes, but He didn't.

Try not to get hung up on the vexing theological question of whether God caused—or only permitted—the trial to happen. There is a fine line between the two, and nobody in the history of the world has it all figured out.

Besides, whether your trial is something as big as physical pain or as small as losing your keys, it doesn't matter if God caused it or simply allowed it. You know this much: He let it happen. Your task is to dignify the trial, whether it is big or small.

5. Know that there is a purpose in the trial. Were it not for this, there would be no point in counting a trial "pure joy." James states that the immediate purpose of a trial is to develop perseverance that leads to joy so wonderful, you lack nothing.

Here is James 1:2-4 translated in The Message: "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."

There is a purpose in what you're going through. It may be to refine you; to teach you a lesson; to equip you; or to teach you self-control. The bottom line is that every trial is designed to make you more like Jesus.

6. Don't try to end the trial. As The Message puts it, "Don't try to get out of anything prematurely." God will end your trial at the right time. It will last as long as it's supposed to last. Try to end it before its time, and you will fail the test.

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