James 1:2-4 ‘Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.’
So often I want to be mature and complete in my walk with Christ without wanting the trials and perseverance, but these verses clearly lay out the path to maturity:
What if we were to look at every trial that comes along through the lens of this verse? Trials are stepping stones to maturity and completeness. Who doesn’t want maturity—wouldn’t it be wonderful if all believers were mature immediately after salvation? Wouldn’t it be amazing if the body of Christ—the church was complete and not lacking anything?
Society would be affected for the good. Jesus would be represented well. God would be known.
But these verses and others like them indicate that maybe, just maybe trials are for our benefit. Faith is tested, and as our faith is tested we get to practice a little muscle called perseverance.
I’m not so sure I like that word: perseverance. I mean it sounds super noble and all that, but it also sounds a little vague, like trying to catch a cloud. Honestly, when I am in the middle of ‘persevering’ it usually feels messy and lonely and a little bit desert-y. Just what is perseverance? Is it facing down our trials with grit and determination? It’s actually a steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or a delay in achieving something.
How do we reconcile trials as joy and being plucked from the net and mirey clay the Psalmist talks about? Could it be more of a heart condition rather than our physical condition?
I am a sunny optimist with a heavy dose of realism as well. I know that life can be rough. I know that people disappoint and I know that we make choices every day to further our relationship with Christ or not.
I think we have to get to a point where God is bigger than our life junk. We need to ask for the eyes of our hearts to be opened and aware of the bigger picture and when we can’t see the bigger picture for the haze and fog, then we must trust God because we are confident he has our good in mind.
I certainly don’t go out and seek trials and stand with excited anticipation for the next opportunity to exercise perseverance and I don’t think you do either, but I think we can stand with bated breath waiting for our God to show up and blow us away with how he moves in us during our trials.
Trials can break us and it’s in our breaking that we can experience an overflow of amazing grace into our lives. You see, brokenness isn’t necessarily something we should shy away from because sometimes its in the brokenness that we find the best kind of grace.
The brokenness that Christ suffered brought us immeasurable grace and his subsequent triumph over death ensures that we will triumph, but we must submit. We must submit to his lordship in our heart and run in his ways and walk in his precepts even if they take us through fire.
He has your back. He stands waiting for you to run to him. He will be your strength. He will cause you to soar on the wind.
I pray that you will begin the journey of knowing God more and that he will reveal himself to you and he will open your eyes and your heart would be filled with the gift of faith, which he fans into a steady flame.