Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James writes to the twelve scattered tribes who were being persecuted for their faith. He tells them that they should count it joy when they face trials. Now I don’t know about you, but I might not have been willing to stay to hear the rest of his message! Who in their right mind counts trials as joy?
But reading on we see that our trials bring us joy because ultimately our trials will bring us to a place where we will be lacking nothing – a place of true freedom. Perseverance is a quality that is developed under trial. We do not grow perseverance unless we have to persevere. Once we have persevered and pressed through our difficulties, we become mature, attaining the character of Christ.
My Dad always taught me to persevere. He valued persistence and modeled an attitude of never giving up. He taught me that a person of perseverance must finish his work in order to go on to the next level of achievement.
My sister-in-law was bedridden until she went to be with Jesus. She was 40 years old when she died, and she persevered under each trial that she faced in terms of her health. Her attitude was always the same: God will never give you more than you can handle. She knew that God was faithful and trustworthy and that with Him she could handle anything.
James knew that if God’s people were to press on to the higher goal, they would have to be willing to undergo trials and difficulties and never give up. Are you facing trials that cause you to want to give up? Today’s Scripture reading points you to the end result of the trial – the maturation of your faith. Ask the Lord to help you see the finish line so that you can run the race with perseverance, knowing that the end is worth the suffering.
Help me to see the finish line of this trial, knowing that I will become more like You as I persevere to the end. Give me the courage to press on and a willing heart to believe.
In Jesus’ name, Amen