“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” (James 1:3-4, NIV).
When do we grow spiritually? Certainly not during times that are easy and demand nothing of us. We grow when our faith is tested during times of hardship. Trials and adversity serve a purpose. They have the ability to teach an important character trait−perseverance. That is the ability to hang on until a goal is reached or a lesson is learned. A person can have commitment in his life, but commitment means nothing without the ability to remain strong no matter what happens.
Perseverance completes a work in each of us. During times of adversity and hardship, perseverance shapes and molds us to God's higher purpose. Trials are painful, “but afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:11b, NLT). If we faithfully persevere through times of hardship, we learn how to handle adversity with maturity and grace.
God uses the trials of life to prune our character and change the way we live–the way we handle new problems–the way we respond to others–the way we think. If we allow hardship to produce perseverance instead of defeating us, spiritual maturity rewards us with “a peaceful harvest of right living.” Having grown spiritually enough to handle life, we will face each problem and challenge with a positive attitude and with His peace.
“We also rejoice in our sufferings,” Paul wrote, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3–4, NIV). Here it is again. Suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance develops character, and character produces hope. Hope inspires greater faith to understand that God's purpose is better than struggling against what He wishes to teach you.
Never struggle emotionally against a trial. Never allow your feelings to take you all over the map. You will drown in your own emotional turmoil. That struggle will only frustrate and defeat you. God is your anchor. Yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide you through your hardship. If the Holy Spirit guides you in ways to address your circumstance, then it is His purpose to use you to change something. But only address that problem if He directs you to address it. Address it in His strength and in His Spirit. Remember that you can never change a circumstance which is beyond your control, but you can allow it to mold your character. Instead of having a negative perspective of life, a positive one will emerge. When perseverance has finished its work, you will be spiritually mature, and able to peacefully trust God through each problem that life offers.