“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because 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 1:2-4
Roger Federer, Lebron James, Sidney Crosby, Mike Trout. They are complete athletes who lack nothing. In their sport, they can do it all. And they do it all while making it look incredibly easy. But striving to reach this elite level, and stay there, is most assuredly not as effortless as they make it look. They have pushed their body and mind to their limits to get where they are. Their steadfastness has been tested every step of the way.
As followers of Jesus, it is easy to tell ourselves we want to achieve an elite level of faith like our Bible heroes had. What would it be like to live with the spiritual strength of Elijah, who defeated 450 false prophets and called down fire from Heaven? How does one reach Elijah-like status?
James says that trials and the testing of our faith is what is required to make us perfect and complete. The same Elijah who was the key player in the Mount Carmel miracle of 1 Kings 18 was in a state of deep despair not long after and wanted his life to be taken. God’s plan for perfecting Elijah involved a very intense trial and testing of his faith.
We love the mountaintop experiences of life, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying victories that God graciously allows along our path. But may we always remember that it is in the difficult times that we are perfected in our faith, and in those times may we be able to count it all joy.
— Craig Nixon
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