“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”-James 1:2-3 (NIV)
Tests are given to see if a student can pass. So, trials in our lives serve as tests of faith. Trials are not always evidence of God’s displeasure; Job is an example of this. He was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1, 8). Yet he lost everything, his kids, his livestock, his friends; only his nagging wife was sparred. What we learn from Job’s story and what James is trying to remind us is that if we are followers of Christ, then everything that happens to us has been filtered by the Father. He has allowed whatever trial is going on in our life. We can trust the Lord’s discipline, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11-12). These trials that are allowed by God are there to produce perseverance. Perseverance is linked with endurance and patience.
One thing I’ve noticed about patience, immature people are always impatient. I’m raising a three-year old now, who daily gives me an opportunity to display patience. She knows what she wants and she wants it now! But impatience isn’t limited to kids… Adults have a problem waiting to buy what we want, so we go into massive debt to get what we want when we want it. We used to have to save for things. Not anymore.
We’ll talk more about perseverance and its effect upon us in our next post.
Verse three starts with “because you know…” These were persecuted followers of Christ that had learned, and were continuing to learn, what James was saying. They were learning by experience that trials lead to perseverance.
How do you usually respond to trials or setbacks in your life?
What is testing your faith?
Do you truly believe that God is sovereign? If so, you can trust that your trial is “Father filtered.”
How have you experienced the Lord’s discipline in the past? [this is also known as chastening.]
Where do you need more patience in your life? Ask God!