“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
After talking to us about our attitude toward trials James now talks to us about our:
It’s here that he tells us to focus on truth, and what we know. So what do we as believers know that makes it easier to face trials? We know that the testing of our faith brings several benefits. We need to remember that God tests to bring out our best, while Satan tempts to bring out the trash. The truth is that testing works for us, not against us. James reminds us that testing reveals what is real. As 1 Peter 1:7 says: “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” When a gold prospector brings his ore sample into the assayer’s office to be tested the sample itself may not be worth more than a few dollars, but the approval, the official statement about the ore, is worth millions. Because it assures the prospector that he has a gold mine. God’s approval of our faith is precious because it assures us that our faith is genuine. Trials may not be fun but they test and reveal that our faith is real. Trials responded to rightly will help us to mature. How does God spell maturity, patience, and endurance, the ability to trust when the going gets tough. When my kids were younger and we would take a long trip they would constantly ask, “Are we there yet, how much longer?” They were too immature to understand the journey. The truth is immature people are often impatient, they want the blessings of maturity without walking down the road of growth. God uses trials to temper us, as I have often said we grow more in the groaning times than the good times. God uses challenges to grow our character and problems to develop our patience. As we learn to trust in the trials and obey God the result is patience and character. Perseverance produces maturity, and maturity is described as “not lacking anything. The Greek term speaks of a thing which has all its necessary parts. There is a process that is implied here, trials, perseverance, maturity, this is not automatic but rather takes time. The way to face trials is to focus on the product, not the pain, we can focus on the facts and not just the feelings. Because we know what trials will do in us and for us, that the end result will bring glory to God. Trials and pain can be a purifying experience if we properly respond to God’s purposes for the trials. Adversity is the diamond dust heaven polishes its jewels with. The enduring of the trial makes you what you are. Often I hear people say that they hope their children don’t have to experience the hardships they went through. While I understand that we want it better for our kids, often better comes through the bitter times more than the blessed times. For it was those hardships that helped to make you what you are. Every trial that comes our way can become a blessing but we need to have a proper perspective and instead of becoming bitter believe that God has something better. There is a story told about a young believer that was attempting to get into the peach growing business. He had worked hard and invested everything he had in a peach orchard which had blossomed beautifully, but then came a devastating frost that destroyed his entire crop. He did not go to church the next Sunday nor the next. So his pastor went to see him and find out why. The young fellow said, “Pastor I’m not coming to church anymore. Do you think I can worship a God who cares so little for me that He would let a frost kill all of my peaches?” The preacher looked at him for a few moments in silence, and then in a soft and gentle voice said, “Son, God loves you better than He loves your peaches. You see God understands that while peaches can grow without frost, men cannot. Sometimes we need the tests that can only come through trials. We may not like the trials that come in this life but tough times can serve to grow us and move us toward maturity. So what about you what kind of a perspective do you have when it comes to problems? Do you believe that God’s tests bring out the best and ultimately becomes a blessing? Or are you questioning His love and listening to the lie of the enemy who wants you to base God’s care and compassion on your circumstances instead of the cross.