Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Maturing Through Trials

James 1:2-4 states, “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.”

If you are like me, you find it hard to consider trials as pure joy. How can a broken arm be considered good? How can being cut from the softball team be joyful? How can a sickness be a happy event?

Trials are difficult circumstances or events in our life that are hard to endure. They often take us by surprise and stretch us beyond our normal capacities. And as we look in detail at this truth from James, we can learn to look at trials as God working for good in our lives.

First, trials test our faith. They provide a perfect opportunity for us to gauge our ability to trust God, to believe he is fully in control, and to look to him for strength to endure. How would you evaluate your faith in the midst of trials?

Second, trials develop perseverance in us. They stretch us spiritually, emotionally, and physically. As we learn to trust God more and more and trust God to help us and as we see him meet us and assist us through the trial, we will develop perseverance.

Third, trials are part of our maturing as Christians. It is amazing that we can become stronger Christians as the results of trials. As we see God meet us in a particular trial, we will be better prepared for the future trials that are sure to come. As we recognize our weaknesses and limitations, we will be humble and turn to God, Scripture, and others for help. As we come to know trials, we will be better equipped to serve others in need.

Don’t we all want to grow in faith, perseverance, and maturity? Don’t we all want to be complete Christians, lacking nothing? When we think of the present, we will not like trials at all, but when we think of the future, we can, with faith, consider them pure joy.

Let’s keep our eyes on Christ and the future work he will accomplish in our present trial.

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