James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
When I first worked in a church (Davidsons Mains Parish Church, over 20 years ago!) I remember having to communicate by phone and letter. I would type up a letter, post it and wait for the reply.
After about a year of working there I got a laptop and this thing called email. I thought it was amazing that I could email somebody and get a reply the same day!! However, I remember starting up the computer and waiting 20 minutes for the emails to download!
We are now living in a instantaneous age, we expect quick replies on what’s app, confirmation of a booking right away. We want to see evidence of the instantaneous.
A problem that comes with an instant culture is we become less patient and not very good at waiting. I am beginning to realise that a lot of prayer is about waiting; being patient and in fact a lot life as a Christian should be about growing in patience.
In his letter, James tell us:
2) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds
If we are honest we don’t like trials but we are told to consider it joy. We should be joy-full. If we see trials in the right context it should lead us to closer communion with Jesus.
“Your self-confidence, your self-contentment, your self-pleasing, your self-will – have they all been laid at Christ’s feet so that He can cast them out and fill your hearts with Himself “Andrew Murray
3) because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
We often face problems ourselves and are aware of the problems others face. We want these problems fixed in an instant, take a pill, wipe the memory, remove the problem, save the person. But we are to see trials – both as individuals and as a church – as a joy.
The converse is true. Self-reliance, and self -dependency can lead to us being spiritually sick and prayerless. If we don’t face trials or listen to God in the trials we may not see the need to pray and depend on God. These testing times should produce perseverance – and should produce fruit in us as we depend on God.
4) Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
If a lot of society wants us to eradicate problems, if we think we should be problem-free, and have a pain free life then we will not see the benefit of brokenness, grief, and lowliness. We will instead strive for what we think is the perfect life; success, and peace as the world sees it and be no different to the world.
How can we be distinctive?
We are not just individuals trying to navigate life but a body, a team. It is right to acknowledge how sickness, brokenness and pain affects the whole body, the church. We are to help one another and to pray for one another. We don’t simply want to list every problem and every person, but to be led. To wait on the lord and be led by the spirit. To intercede as he leads us for the body of Christ.
Let’s pray; His will be done and His kingdom come. And know He is with us in the trials. We want to see God building His church in depth – not just numerically. Part of the plan to lead us to maturity and completion is to prayerfully face trials together with the joy of the Lord.
May you be blessed and encouraged as you seek the Lord.