Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. –James 1:2-4 NIV
On the days that it seems hard to put one foot in front of the other, the specter of discouragement can loom large. But quitting isn’t really an option for believers in Jesus. Instead, James helps us redefine difficulty by forging a strong connection between testing, perseverance, and the ultimate goal of maturity.
If we give in to discouragement when the difficulties come, then we short-circuit our maturing process. James is so convinced of the value of maturity that he says we should even have joy when we realize what God is doing in us. It might seem crazy to rejoice about things that are painful and tough, but we can go through hardship with the right attitude when we understand the benefit that’s waiting on the other side…that is, spiritual health and vitality.
And even though we don’t like suffering, maintaining God’s viewpoint helps us get through the days when we’d rather give up and stay in bed. And instead of just enduring the things that come our way, if we alter our perspective and see the events of our lives as a part of maturity, we can, indeed, learn to rejoice.
1) God, I know You are doing things for me and in me that I can’t imagine. Help me trust You when I can’t understand.
2) Jesus, steady me when adversity comes. Help me remember that these things are designed to make me more like You.