Understanding Trouble – Part 5
… because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:3 NIV)
Christianity is not a hundred yard dash. It’s a marathon; and to finish the marathon, we need endurance and perseverance! The only way we get the endurance, however, is by encountering resistance, in much the same way that an athlete gets stronger and develops endurance by doing resistance training. For us, this resistance comes in the form of trials, and this is what James is referring to in his New Testament letter.
Brothers and sisters, we’re not in this to play just one quarter in a four-quarter basketball game, but rather to last through to the end of the game. As we persevere, we’ll be able to say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! We’re going to keep running the race; we’re going to keep serving!” Then, when perseverance finishes its work, it will no longer matter what people say or do. We won’t yearn for the roaring approval of the crowd, nor will we get thrown off when someone says, “I don’t like you!” God matures us through difficulties and gives us the perseverance and endurance to rise above all that.
If you’re going through a trial today, count it pure joy, because it means that God is working on you! If you feel God pruning you, and you feel the need for a deeper faith, that’s a sure sign, first of all, that you’re a Christian… and that’s cause for rejoicing! People who don’t know the Lord have no concept of the meaning of trials. They just see with their natural eyes that good is good and bad is bad. But the Christian says, “God’s ways aren’t my ways, and his thoughts are not my thoughts. He will never allow me to go through more than I can bear, and this trial is going to make me strong. Praise God, he’s developing something in me so that I have perseverance to run straight to the finish line—straight into the arms of Jesus!”