I Don’t Want To!
Read James Chapter 1
Jas 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
For most or much of our lives, we have consciously or unconsciously been searching for a life free of trials and tribulations. You have seen many times from these devotions that any effort to find a trouble-free life is a futile task. We will never be done with them. That is just what life is, because of the Fall, and it is even more so for the Christian because the enemy relentlessly pursues us and because the world is going to hate us. James has some great advice for us.
Since we are going to encounter troubles anyway, we might as well face them bravely and with the knowledge that they are a part of God’s plan for us. James said to consider our trials “pure joy.” Now, I won’t pretend to have that admonition down pat; far from it. That is one of those quests that have so far eluded me. I don’t like trials and temptations. I am still searching for the strength to count them as pure joy.
James has another instruction for us. He asks us to persevere. He writes that the testing of our faith develops perseverance. Each trial we endure successfully gives us extra faith and strength to continue down the pathway God has chosen for us. Our lives will stand at the end as a continual succession of trials, tribulations, temptations, and tests. Each one was designed to increase our faith and lead us to perseverance.
Verse 4 shows us that perseverance must finish its work. Without it, we will never be mature and compete, lacking nothing. Do not misunderstand James. By no means is he intimating that perseverance will save us. This entire book carries the theme that perseverance is evidence of our salvation. He understands that faith is our salvation, but he also knows that true faith will result in works, and it will triumph in perseverance. We will triumph and persevere because we are God’s children. He has given us everything we need to stay the course. Our temporary missteps will be just that; they will be temporary.
Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
Our trials have great meaning and purpose. Instead of having our pity parties over them, we must learn that they are a part of our sanctification process. They are necessary to make us mature, complete, and lack nothing. They are not fun, but just as we studied yesterday they are a normal part of our sharing in the sufferings of Christ. He suffered; it is a privilege that we are counted worthy to suffer alongside Him.
The end result will be our final victory over all the things which threatened to destroy us. We will reign in triumph over our arch-enemy. Our crown of life will be worth more than anything we have had to give up, or any suffering which we have endured.
Prayer: This is so hard, Lord. We don’t understand Your ways, but we place our faith and trust in Your wisdom. Continue to give us the strength we must have to endure our trials. Show us their value, and remind us of our ultimate victory.