2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
It is a strange scripture and indeed one that goes against human nature. Although we know the adage “no gain without pain”, we seemingly, and all too often, fail to realize and appreciate the depth and scope of this scripture – its significance to our spiritual life.
And yet James, in his letter to the Church, opens with these statements. “Whenever you face trials of many kinds ” echoes Jesus’ statement in John 16:33: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So, it is clear that we will experience troubles.
But we can take heart; we can even consider it not just joy, but pure joy, when we face trials. How can we do this? By understanding that because Christ has overcome the world, we can too because we have His life in us. God’s desire is to make us more like Christ, to make us overcomers.
The end game or goal of trials is spiritual growth. The path of spiritual growth is progressive, meaning it’s a step-by-step process. Completion of each step is required for commencement of the next step. And there are no shortcuts to the goal. What are those steps?
Face the trial – allow the trial to test your faith (without faith it is impossible to please God. A life of faith pleases God.) – your faith produces perseverance – perseverance leads to maturity and completion, not lacking anything.
Not lacking in anything means you will have the spiritual resources you need to overcome the stuff of life, to live a fulfilled and joyful Christian life despite life’s challenges. What are some spiritual resources? Think about the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). There’s also wisdom, strength, boldness, and courage – attributes we can acquire from God while enduring the trials.
Life is full of challenges we will each face. But understanding that the path of maturity includes tribulations that facilitate growth allows us to appreciate and not shy away from the process. The tests are not to destroy us. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
While going through your trial by fire, remember that this, too, shall pass. And 8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8 and 12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12
Endurance has its rewards both now and in eternity!
TRIALS ARE GROWING PAINS WITHOUT WHICH THERE IS NO GROWTH