Scripture Reference James 1 : 2-4
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
The testing of our faith through trials of many kinds seems hardly a reason for any of us to rejoice! While for most of us this may seem true, the spiritual advice and teaching from God’s Word strongly urges us to change our perspective. While trials of many kinds evoke feelings of stress, hardship, and even resentment, God invites us to see these nuisances in another way!
As weights are to physical muscle development so too are trials to spiritual development. For some or even for many the idea of lifting weights is anathema! Who wants to do something like that?! Then when you tell people you pay money so that you can go to a gym and put your body through all kinds of physical stress they look at you like you have taken leave of your senses!
I imagine most people who read this message from James have a similar reaction. For many people avoiding lifting anything heavy is far more preferable and likewise avoiding trials of many kinds is also preferable. Trials seem to just get in the way of our plans or have a way of sidelining our happiness. Trials stress us out! Now what good can possibly come from stress?
Well again if we relate that to resistance training stressing the muscle is absolutely essential to any semblance of muscular development. Conversely inactivity causes what? Muscle Atrophy! Muscle atrophy can lead to osteoporosis, bones become weak and brittle and suddenly you have a world of problems you never wanted, all because you saw no value in working your muscles.
Likewise James message not only informs us of what is good for us, it is also preventative medicine for the soul. As you develop your faith through trials of many kinds you are also maturing into a stronger spiritual person! Now let me say this in addition, the trials of many kinds do not in and of themselves build the spiritual muscle. How we respond to those trials is what builds the muscle! Likewise a person with no knowledge of how to properly exercise their body may in fact do more damage than good. We gain knowledge and wisdom through the Word of God and then we must apply that knowledge and wisdom that God gives to us when working through the trials that confront us. This is why James goes on to say, “5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Wisdom from God is imperative to successfully working through our trials! Remember to ask God for wisdom because “He gives generously to all without finding fault”! It is the wisdom that comes from God that perceives trials of many kinds as a reason for pure joy because it is an opportunity for us to grow!
God tells us here that the testing of our faith (a muscle that needs to be worked) produces perseverance which develops not only our maturity but also shapes the whole person in godliness. While the immature Christian is more reflective of the carnal nature, the mature person more closely resembles Christ in all that they do.