Don't Miss the Lesson

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“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  – James 1:2-4

Life is not random. The things that happen to us are not simply chance. God knows, is involved, and He has a purpose. Let’s unpack those verses written by James.

James lays out a process that occurs during life’s challenges. When we experience difficulties that test our faith in God and His promises, the intended result is endurance; not giving in. In other words, remaining under and not caving in. This is what’s below the surface of the word ‘steadfastness’. As we endure, God does His work to perfect us and complete us.

The Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to describe a similar process in Romans:

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  – Romans 5:1-5

Like James, Paul tells us that we should rejoice in our sufferings, not because they are good or enjoyable, but because they produce a spiritual transformation in us. Suffering leads to endurance. Endurance builds character in us. Character gives us hope. Hope!! What a wonderful expectation at the end of suffering! Paul goes on to reassure us that we don’t have to dread any shame or humiliation associated with suffering because God’s very Spirit has poured out His love into our hearts. Let that sink in. The same love that resulted in God establishing a plan to redeem us and that gave Jesus the ability to endure the cross has been poured into us by the Holy Spirit! Amazing!

Just moments before Jesus was betrayed and the events began that led to His crucifixion, He told the disciples that “In the world, you will have tribulation.” Expect it. Don’t be surprised when it comes. But, Jesus also said we could have peace in life’s struggles. (John 16:33)

In the middle of life and its inevitable trials and sufferings, don’t miss the lesson of what God is teaching and how He is perfecting us for His purposes and His glory. Look for it. Learn it quickly and permanently. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28