So we know that the book of James is all about spiritual maturity, and we've touched on considering trials and temptations in a joyful manner, but why? Why would we consider them in this way? What's the point of trials and temptations?
What's The Point?
So according to James 1:3-4 the purpose of these trials and temptations is to produce endurance, and after we have endured these trials the result of that endurance is perfection, completeness, and lacking nothing. So basically it's spiritual maturity.
Now let me just stop right here and say that this perfection is not to be confused with how we view perfect. We are not sinless or without fault in this life, but we are growing in spiritual perfection through progressive sanctification that we may be found growing from infant Christian, to young Christian, to adult Christian. These stages of spiritual growth are vital for every believer, if you desire to be useful to the kingdom of God on this earth. I always say, if I'm not growing, I'm dying.
So how does it feel to know that God is using trials to grow you? Are you excited? Well, you should be! Think of the famous "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11. Did the people mentioned in Hebrews get there in a day, without any kind of trials or tests of faith? NO WAY! Abraham is one of my favorite men in the Bible because he was tested and showed amazing faith, and then as he walked out his life there were times when he just did things his own way and failed miserably. I love him because I can totally relate. Who wouldn't want to die as an Abraham or a Moses? I mean these people made history. They were never sinless, but they were spiritually mature, and God used them in mighty ways.
That is what I want for my life, don't you? Don't you want to leave a legacy that will be remembered by generations of Christians? Don't you want to spend your life glorifying God and making a difference in this world?
Then stop and look at your life. What is happening in your life right now that if you changed your perspective, could be used to grow you? Do you need to work on your patience? Maybe God is giving you lots of chances to do just that when you're driving home in bumper to bumper traffic. Trials and tests don't have to be big horrible situations. When you are yelling at the driver that cut you off, there is a lot you could be learning if you just consider that God is in control of every detail, including that driver.
How much different would your life look if you took a look at every situation that causes you to sin, and saw it as something God could be trying to teach you?
What About Me?
For my own life today it looked a little like this: My husband has been working non-stop since we got home from the funeral. I am lonely, and I want him here. What if this isn't about me? What if my husband is working to keep his mind off the fact that he just lost his mom? What if I need to be supportive and appreciative, considerate, and loving, instead of focusing on myself. It doesn't make being lonely any easier, but it does make changing my attitude about it all, much more important. I see a purpose in the way I respond, because I know that God is working in my heart to make me more like Jesus! I'm a lot more accepting of these trials, when I look at them through the eyes of faith.
Think of anything that made you angry or upset today. Anything that caused you to sin. Would you have reacted differently if that situation had come wrapped in a bow with a message that read: "This is for your growth my sweet child. Use it wisely. Love, God. "?
View 31 Days Through The Book Of James here.