Dear Precious Friends,
On this Fill Our Soul Sunday I love sharing what I need to hear. In todays scripture, I wanted to share how God uses adversity to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ.
However, when we're facing a trial in our lives, the last thing we want is someone telling us to rejoice! But, James is not telling us to be joyous because of the trial. James assumes that his readers are committed to spiritual growth. When they understand that trials lead to more spiritual growth, he knows they'll rejoice because of the end result—growth! The testing of our faith produces endurance. Endurance is a maturing factor. The term "perfect" carries with it the idea of maturity. When people are forced to endure hardship, they mature in some fashion. James warns us there is a way to interrupt this maturing process. He instructs his readers to "let endurance have its perfect result." The implication is that by reacting to adversity incorrectly, we short-circuit the maturing process. I know of people who are mad at God because of some adversity that has come their way. The tragedy in each case is that they have put themselves on the sidelines spiritually. You may be thinking, That's ridiculous. How could anyone be so enthusiastic about growing spiritually as to rejoice when confronted with adversity? If that's your attitude, this passage of scripture is for you:
James realized it would sound strange to tell people to rejoice in the midst of trials. So, he followed it up by saying in James 1:5-8, "If you find that hard to accept, ask the Lord for wisdom to make it clear to you." That's what He means by asking for wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to see things from God's perspective. Many of us have trouble accepting this connection between adversity and growth. It is hard for us to accept that God is so intent on bringing us to maturity that He's willing to let us suffer. But, in His economy, adversity is a small price to pay for the benefits of spiritual growth. As we study the passages such as this one we will find the real issue becomes clear to us. Are we going to take God at His word and begin viewing adversity from His perspective? Are we persevering? Are we enduring? Or, are we resisting? Are we mad at God for what He's doing? God wants to use adversity to mature us to the point where our character becomes a mirror image of Jesus as He is the potter and we are the clay. So remain moldable clay and yield to the shaping of the Potter’s Hand.
*Source: God's word, Holy Spirit, Daily Devo