Do Not Fear: Trials Produce Perseverance
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4
All of us have faced periods of testing and trials to some degree. For some of us, it may have been a shorter period of high stress and worry about an ongoing event. For many, these periods of testing and trials are extended periods of time, sometimes being weeks, months, or years in which the pressures of those trials consistently weigh down on their shoulders. Nevertheless, we know that because we live in a world that has fallen into sin, there will always be glaringly obvious symptoms of the brokenness of our world, and these symptoms can take the form of some of the most difficult times we face in our lives.
These times can very easily evoke fear in all of us. We’ve seen in Scripture how we are to respond to times like this, yet, it still leaves us wondering what the purpose is in these trials. James 1 goes beyond ascribing how we are to respond to hard times (although that is important in the life of a believer) and speaks directly to the underlying purpose behind the hard times that we face.
The testing of our faith produces perseverance. There is a purpose in all of these moments. As we face trials, temptations, and tribulations, they are opportunities for us to grow in our maturity and our perseverance. They are opportunities for us to continue moving along the path of sanctification, becoming more and more like Christ with each passing day. This does not mean that what we face becomes easier. In fact, sometimes it will become more difficult. Yet, with each opportunity we take to choose perseverance and maturity, we become stronger and more able, through Christ, to stand firm no matter what comes our way.
As we persevere, we move closer and closer to being complete in Christ, not lacking anything. So we do not fear, even when we feel like we might break under the weight of the trials and tribulations, because there is a purpose and a reason for all of it. May the perseverance we choose in these times move us closer and closer to completion, and therefore, closer and closer to the person of Christ.
Action Step: Read Romans 5:1-5. What is the correlation between perseverance and hope? Can you have hope without perseverance? What about perseverance without hope? How does your hope in Christ influence your perseverance? Take some time to pray through these verses, asking God to give you perseverance to stand firm in Him through all things.