James 1:2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
No one that I know of jumps for joy whenever a problem comes their way. Instead most of us try to get out of our trouble as quickly as possible. Why then would James tell us to be joyful?
Yesterday we saw that God often uses trials to purify our faith.
Today we will see how God also uses trials to make us stronger.
James 1:3 For you know that when your faith is tested – your endurance has a chance to grow. NLT
Notice that James uses the word ‘endurance.’ […when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow… James 1:3]
Sometimes the word endurance is translated as ‘patience.’ Patience is more than holding your tongue when you want to spout off. Biblical patience is the strength to remain steadfast, even when we are forced to bear a heavy load. Scripture teaches us that in order for our endurance to grow, our faith has to be tested.
Perhaps the best illustration of this is an athlete who is in training. If an athlete wants to get better, they have to train harder. An old adage in the gym is – NO PAIN, NO GAIN. Lazy athletes never reach their full potential. It is only the athlete who is willing to push themselves beyond what is comfortable, who is able to accomplish great things.
The same is true for us spiritually. Sometimes I hear people jokingly say that they are praying for more patience, yet what they do not realize is that faith and patience are not virtues that God can magically bestow upon us. They are the product of a faith that has been taught to trust in God.
It is for this reason that James tells us –
When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:3-4 NLT
As I write this my mind goes to a line in a gospel song by Andre Crouch. (Through It All)
I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I’d never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know God could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do.