The testing of your faith produces endurance
James 1 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; 10 and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
In Matthew 24:4-14 Jesus says: “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains. Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Those who declare a gospel that says there will be no difficult times in the life of a believer, contradict what Jesus says and mislead many. Enduring tribulation is something we are called to do as believers. Endurance is defined as: the ability to withstand hardship or adversity especially : the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity. Jesus says: “The one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved.” In John 10:10 Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.” Even as we endure difficulty and tribulation, we live in the abundance of Christ. In John 16:33 Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” We endure tribulation because we have an abundance of Christ’s peace, knowing that He has already overcome all that we face.
Today’s text says: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. How are we perfected, made complete; lacking in nothing through our testing and trials? Romans 8:28-30 says: We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. We are perfected, made complete, justified and glorified because God uses the difficulties we endure to continue to conform us to the image of Christ, His Son. In Him we lack nothing. In Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus says: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
The text says: Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. We need to understand that there is a difference between trials and temptation. That we are going through difficult times does not mean that we have sinned, but to give in to the temptation to worry, doubt and fear can lead us into sin. Revelation 21:8 says: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Fear, worry and doubt are forms of sin if we allow them to control our lives. Ephesians 2:8 says: By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. God will give us the gift of faith if we ask Him. In Mark 9:20-24 we read an account of a father bringing his epileptic son to Jesus. It says: They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
If you find yourself in the midst of trial and tribulation, if your faith has not been built through perseverance and endurance to the point where you can count it as joy, cry out like the father, I do believe; help my unbelief. Ask and it will be given to you. God will give you the gift of faith and you will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. All things are possible to him who believes.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I take joy not in the trials and difficulties of this life, but rather in knowing that You are perfecting me; that by faith I am being conformed into the image of Christ. I believe. Help me when my faith is weak. Amen.