Faith Produces Endurance
Reflect on these challenging words from James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2 is a short verse that contains insight into the trails of life. The phrase "when you encounter various trials" holds the keyword which demonstrates the universality of man's hardships. It is significant, that James used the word "when" that one word defines the issue; undergoing trials is not a matter of if, but when. The truth is, there are life lessons which can only be learned through trials and hardship. Therefore, our loving God will sometimes allow difficulties to enter into our lives for his refining purposes.
As we examine the issue of our trials, a reasonable question to ask is, "Where do these trails come from?" There are in fact, some specific sources for most of our trials. The primary cause is from making bad decisions. Our God-given free will allows us the opportunity and responsibility of making our own choices. Unfortunately, even the most committed Christian can and will make mistakes when making decisions and the result will be a period of hardship.
Another source of trials, is the fallen world in which we live. Sin has so permeated our world that God's original plan of paradise seems impossible. Many of life’s trials such as storms, pandemics, wars, and crime are the results of sin's impact upon our world. Unfortunately, there is no way to escape trials that seem to appear out of nowhere. And to no surprise, many trials come straight from the enemy. After all, Satan is interested in any way possible that he can use to torment us, and every attempt that he makes has one purpose; to draw us further away from our God.
The final source of our trials is the Lord. Some resist this idea, believing God desires only happiness for us. The truth is; however, God is more concerned with our maturity and development than our general happiness. Often, lessons can only be learned through hardship. Therefore, God will allow trials to enter into our lives for His purposes. The starting point for understanding the purpose behind our trials is to consider their source. We must learn to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let our requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7) Trust in the Lord and never forget that we are all being refined and made complete day by day; it is the testing of our faith that produces endurance, which in time makes us perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Grace and peace always,