This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings! Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind 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 1:1-4 NLT
Have you ever felt that life just sucks? In recent days I have had some moments when it seemed things were a bit overwhelming. I’m facing some new challenges that I haven’t yet put everything together to know how to navigate. Cindy and I have stepped out of our comfort zone and into some new territory that is causing new challenges. As we start a study from the book of James, we will discover that we can identify with the audience to whom James is writing. He opens this letter by letting us know his audience is the Jewish believers who have been “scattered abroad.” These were the Jews who declared their faith in Jesus as Lord and because of their faith they were persecuted. Many had been forced to leave their homes, families, and comfort zones. He begins by telling this audience, “When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” At first it sounds like a pep talk from some motivational speaker. But then we begin to realize there is a message behind those words. James continues with, “when your faith is tested, your endurance has an opportunity to grow.” James is reminding them, and us, that God always has a purpose in our pain. I don’t believe God causes the pain that often comes into our lives. He is a loving Heavenly Father Who gives us good gifts. However, I do believe we live in a fallen world and because of that bad things happen. When we choose to live a life of faith in Jesus and God’s Word we begin to discover that God can use our painful moments as growth moments. Endurance doesn’t develop enjoying chocolates sitting on a couch. If we want to build physical endurance, we have to exercise our body. We have to sweat, raise our heart rate, and expend physical energy. Pushing our physical body grows the muscles and lungs to be able to endure more. When we go through some things in life that are difficult, we develop more endurance. And that endurance is what perfects us. We don’t become spiritually mature without some struggles. This is why we can rejoice when a problem comes. We know that God is still in charge and this problem is going to be used by God to develop endurance and strength in our lives. Pain produces perseverance which brings about our perfection!
Holy Spirit help me to see Your hand working in my times of struggle. Help me to grow through the pain. Forgive me for throwing a pity party in my pain.
“Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying based on today’s reading.”