6.3.2015 “Trials and Temptations”

James 1:2-8 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. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James was identifying with persecuted Jewish believers who were scattered among pagans at the time of this writing and I can’t help but think these words were a bit surprising.  Maybe not the encouragement one would expect in the midst of a trial, but what an amazing lens in which to view those hardships they were enduring!

The apostle Paul comes to mind anytime I think of joy in the face of trials when you look at the reckless abandon he lived out his faith from the time of his conversion and the perseverance and maturity that is evident in his walk with Christ.  Job has to be mentioned when talking about perseverance, another who endured unthinkable pain and never wavered in his devotion to God.  At the same time the bible give us so many examples of people who failed their test, did not persevere, and fell on their face turning to God because there was just no other place to turn.

All of these examples give encouragement and hope.  Encouragement that God can take the most broken individual imaginable and produce an unwavering faith.  Hope for a complete and mature faith, not lacking in anything and impacting this world in extraordinary ways.  Every day most of us have tangible examples of people living out their faith and walking well with the Lord, I would encourage you to be intentional about meeting them, walking with them, being discipled by them.

Heavenly Father we thank you for the trials You place before us and we pray that you would produce a persevering faith in us that would be a beacon to this world.  We pray Lord for the strength to seek you, wisdom to ask you, and to believe that you will finish a work in us that in not lacking.  Thank you Lord for this day and the love, grace, mercy, and strength you give us to get through it, may we rest in that.