James 1:2-4 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, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Whenever we experience some sort of difficulty in life, our first response is to ask God ‘Why?’ According to James, a part of God’s reasoning may be ‘To help us develop spiritual maturity.’
This week I have been sharing with you my desire to become more spiritually mature. I desire this not only because it is the right thing to do, but because I know that spiritual maturity is necessary in order for me to experience my greatest joy and satisfaction as a believer. God wants all of His children to grow up and mature. Here are some of the principles we have considered thus far this week:
Following the Example of Those Who Have Gone Before Us (Monday’s devotional)
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20) A great way to develop maturity is to listen to those who are more mature.
Walking With God in Our Younger Years (yesterday’s devotional)
“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance…” (Proverbs 1:5)
Allowing God to Use Trials and Difficulties to Develop Us
According to James, the Lord often uses trials and difficulties as a way of helping us develop and mature. How can a trial help us become more mature? There are at least three ways:
Trials put a spotlight on our areas of immaturity. I have not always reacted positively to the trials God has allowed to come in my life. Sometimes I become upset and frustrated, and I have even lashed out at God. In many ways, my reaction has been like a little child who doesn’t get his way. Thankfully, the Lord has been gracious enough to put up with me and to help me see where I need to grow.
Trials cause us to seek God for His help and strength. As I have grown and matured as a believer, I have come to realize that the first thing I need to do in every situation is to come to God and receive His help and strength. Trails cause me to read my Bible more intently. Trials cause my prayer life to become more focused and meaningful. Trials cause me to seek God.
Trials equip us for greater service. A term we sometimes hear used to describe someone who is wise and mature is ‘seasoned veteran.’ A seasoned veteran is someone who has been through it before and has learned how to survive. Trials do that for us. They season us and help us grow and mature so we are better equipped to face life. Trials help us become wise and mature.