Monday, February 13, 2017
Perseverance in Faith
James 1:2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
James was speaking to the early Christian believers who were suddenly facing persecution because of their faith. The severe persecutions had not yet begun, but they were experiencing a new type of low-key persecution for they were being rejected socially and had become victims of economic boycott. Once they declared that they were Christians they had become victims of discrimination because of their faith. While this was discouraging, James wanted to encourage them to consider it pure joy that they were facing trials. Their faith was to be seen by those in the world. If they were being persecuted, their lives were an effective witness.
Therefore we are to rejoice in the testing of our faith because it is in the testing that endurance will be produced. It is only in being tested that we can grow and become complete in Christ. It is when we are completely in Christ that we will lack absolutely nothing. This is the goal of our lives, to be made complete, or perfect in Christ and we are filled with God-like character. When we go through the fire of trials the impurities of our faith are burned off and all that is left is Christlikeness.
We each have things in our lives which we may consider “trials.” They come to us in many forms including failing health, loss of loved ones, difficulties in relationships, struggles at work, strained finances, and even in the life of the church. Avoidance of these difficulties would probably be the normal response. Who wants to go through this stuff? No one really wants to have to go through difficulties in life and yet, without these we would not be able to grow and develop into the people of God that we are to become.
It’s somewhat like receiving a vaccination. A person must receive a touch of a particular illness so that their body will create the right antibodies to fight against the full-blown disease. In other words, your body has to go through some trials so that you can come out victorious. If we never live through trials we will not become stronger. Historically, when the people from Europe arrived in America they brought with them their diseases. The native Americans had never been exposed to those diseases and their bodies could not fight back. Many died simply from exposure to something they had never experienced before. Never being exposed to difficulties is not a good thing. No matter how much we try to protect ourselves or our children, it can actually become a detriment to our lives. Those who have learned to persevere will develop endurance to continue on the spiritual journey, pushing through until the very end.
No matter the struggle which we may face today, may we press on in faith. Let’s take time to thank God for the struggles and praise the Lord when we come out on the other side. And in all things, may God be glorified!
Lord, when the struggles of this life seem daunting, I give you praise. Please help me to keep my eyes fixed on you, and may I persevere in my faith. I love you, Lord. Amen.