Pushing Through the Wall
Verse 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Endurance. We touched on this word a little bit at the end of our time together yesterday but it deserves a deeper look to understand how important it is to our spiritual growth.
Endurance is the power to continue through pain and hardships, despite fatigue and stress. We all know this on some level, yet James is wanting us to see it on another level. James understands what it means to grow spiritually. He had grown up in a slightly out of the ordinary Jewish home. Slightly out of the ordinary because his brother was absolutely perfect. He lived his life in the shadow of the only person that has ever lived a completely sinless life. But it wasn’t an easy life that he witnessed all those years.
He had likely watched his parents be treated differently by some because of the circumstances of Jesus’ birth. James had seen the financial struggles that his family had due to their lower class status (we know this because of the offerings made at the temple following Jesus birth). He had witnessed his mother becoming a widow at a relatively young age. He had witnessed, though not thoroughly understanding, the persecution Jesus had faced through His ministry. Though James may not have seen Jesus as the Messiah early in Jesus’ ministry, he knew his brother’s character and would have known that Jesus was not someone evil, James may have thought Jesus to be misguided, but not evil.
After his coming to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, he had witness trials that only the strength of the Lord could have helped someone endure. This is the endurance James was reminding these scattered believers to claim joy in. Enduring without choosing joy will only get us through it begrudgingly but to grow spiritually takes a bit more.
If we are wanting to grow spiritually we need to look past the trial and see that there is a purpose in it. That will help us as we joyfully endure each and every trial that comes our way. When we see the fact that God has a purpose to grow us to be more like Him, we should be able to choose joy as we endure the lesson we are getting. It is easier to endure when we see it as choosing God’s strength so that we can grow spiritually.
Making It Personal
What are you enduring right now? How could God be trying to grow you through it? What are you learning as you go through it?
Making It Personal Kids
Have you ever had to find the strength to do something you didn’t want to do? Did you do it just because you had to or did you do it with joy? Why do you think Jesus would want you to do it with joy?
Father, thank You for giving us the strength to do even the things we don’t want to do so that we can please You by growing to be more like You. In Jesus’ name, amen.