“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 1:2-4, NLT).
Do you need to hear a message that tells you to keep holding on and never give up? This devotional is for you. I pray that it encourages you. The testing of our faith produces great joy. It also develops perseverance. These verses say that if we allow perseverance to work in our life we will be complete in our faith and not lack anything in hard times. That is a powerful thought. There is a work going on inside us, and it can only be completed through commitment and perseverance. Spiritual growth discovered through perseverance has the power to create a joy that nothing can shake. When we have fought to learn His lesson and we have won, there is no joy like the joy of victory. Patient endurance is what we need, and if we press on to do His will, then we will receive all that He has promised (Hebrews 10:36).
The Lord’s desire is for faith to spring up in the midst of our suffering. It is our decision whether the lesson is learned. Trials and suffering should inspire spiritual growth. “These have come,” Peters imparts, “so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (I Peter 1:7, NIV). The testing of our faith during hardship is meant to create the ability to persevere. It is our decision whether we allow His refining fire to purify and strengthen us.
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face,” Paul writes. “All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG). No test of circumstance that we endure-no temptation we face will be more than we can handle with His strength. He knows our limit. His grace is more than sufficient, and He will provide the strength to stand. We can either be adrift in fear, or we can allow God to anchor us in faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). We press on through the hardship of life in order to believe in that we can’t touch or see.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in (or wait upon) the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV). We can soar above the trials of life. We can run and not be weary. All that we must do is allow perseverance to complete its work so that we will be completely mature and not lack anything in our spiritual lives (James 1:4). Joy then becomes something not built on circumstance, but on a faith that is full and complete.