“You know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:3-4)
Since we know that God is pleased by our faith in Him, it follows that we should expect God to place us in situations where we will need our faith. James tells us that this means trials, hardships, tough circumstances, even persecutions.
Truth be told, we don’t really like to hear this news. We would mostly prefer that God would keep us out of those situations. We want our lives to be stress-free, safe and comfortable, and always at peace – and we want God to be our Protector to keep difficult things from happening in our lives.
But if we really want to please God (and deep down, most of us really do!) we have to come to grips with the fact that God delights in bringing storm clouds to our sunny days. Not for the purpose of making our days hard. Not to rain on our parade. But to show us how much His reign in our lives can deepen our trust in Him.
Let’s face it, the only way we can grow in our relationship with God is when we understand Him better… and there is no better way to understand Him than when He is actively working on our behalf. This requires a situation of need – so that God can be our Source and supply to meet that need.
And what activates His work in our lives is… (you guessed it) faith!
But God is also looking for perseverance in our faith.
Too many times, when we run into a situation of need, we will “try God” – but if He is not quick to our rescue we will ditch our faith and try to find some other way of dealing with our problem.
This is another quality of faith we need to grasp… True faith is enduring. It is the “Energizer Bunny” of the spiritual realm.
True faith refuses to give up (or to give in) to the pressure to find an easy way out. True faith rests in God’s faithfulness… even if it seems He is “slow about keeping His promise.”
If we really understand what James is trying to tell us (in our verses today), He is giving us the recipe for maturity in Christ. He is telling us that God’s goal for each of us is that we BE “mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Think about that. Can we possibly imagine what our lives would be like if we truly lived without a nagging sense of lack in our lives? Imagine the strength, the hope, the joy, the peace that would steadily reign over every thought, in every moment, of every one of our days.
Why? Because it is possible for us to actually reach a point in our relationship with God where we are so assured of God’s faithfulness to us that no matter what we face, we KNOW that “our God will supply all (our) needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phili. 4:19) If we KNOW that God is truly with us… we never have lack!
But there is no easy road to getting there. Where God is taking us is where we need to be (to be the kind of people He desires). And the path of our journey will give us plenty of opportunities to face struggles so that we can push aside all our doubts and tirelessly trust in God’s faithfulness – as He takes us from being weak and feeble… to being mature and complete and strong in the power of His might.