Wednesday, November 26, 2014



My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  (James 1:2-5)

We are to rejoice in all seasons of life—even the difficult ones may be counted as delight.  We can do so, because God is good.  That is an immutable reality no matters the changes in our circumstances.  We may walk with a warm summer breeze at our backs or a cold winter blast in our face—yet God is good and His will is perfect and precious.

As we consider our challenges, we not only choose to rejoice despite them, but to calculate pure joy from them, and what those trials sent by a sovereign God are accomplishing in us.  No matter the nature of the trials—and they come in many shapes and sizes—each one is formative to faith.  An untested faith is an unproven faith.  Physical muscle is only developed by resistance, and so spiritual strength only comes by exercising our faith.

The race of life is a grueling marathon.  We run on a rough track, and it trains us to endure.  The ongoing discipline of it builds spiritual stamina so we may finish the race strong and triumphant.  None become chiseled champions for Christ without the varied rigors we encounter.  Here is how a robust faith is produced.

Whether we like it or not—the truth is—we live in a fallen world, where there will be little advancement in godliness without adversity.  Spiritual maturity is rooted in rocky soil, on a cliff-side that at times is scorched by the heat of the sun of trials, or drenched by the storms of hardship, but always nourished by grace.

Seeing life this way does not come from a worldly perspective.  The natural man scrupulously avoids anything seeming to be painful.  It is an instinctive reaction.  But God offers His wisdom on the matter.  This view from heaven is ours for the asking.  We may receive the insight to see how God is at work.  Seek His way on how to properly respond to the trial rather than praying for Him to remove the trial.  There is an ample supply of understanding that God is willing to give.  Do you recall how God taught Joseph, in the saga recorded in Genesis—that He had sent him into his trials to prepare him for a glorious purpose?

May God give us wisdom in His ways—that we may not waste our sorrows.  The trials are unavoidable, but can become usable to mature us and mold us into the likeness of Christ.  As we see this development, we learn to delight in difficulties.

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