Imagine there was a line you could get in to receive something you really wanted–a line that offered all the money you would ever need, or that trip to a faraway place you’ve dreamed of, or even the perfect spouse you’ve longed for! Who wouldn’t run to that line?
Most of us would never get in a line that offered temptations and trials for the taking; yet the Bible tells us in the first chapter of James, that temptations and trials are to be considered a joy:
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be (people) perfectly and fully developed (with no defects), lacking in nothing.
Here’s a look at what we receive from trials and temptations in our lives. Maybe it’s not such a bad line to get in after all:
- Endurance: Webster’s defines endurance as the “quality of continuing for a long time: permanence. In order to serve God and trust in Him when trials and temptations come, we need the ability to continue, avoiding the temptation to give up. When we first come to Christ, this quality needs to be strengthened in us and this comes by “going through” difficulties, learning and growing in faith through them. It’s difficult to get far in our Christian walk without endurance–even Jesus needed it in order to go to the cross in our place. If He needed this quality, how much more do we?
- Steadfastness: Having the quality of steadfastness is invaluable in the work of the Kingdom. The steadfast are those who are “firmly fixed in place, not subject to change–firm in belief.” This world is changeable, at a moment’s notice. But those who allow steadfastness to grow in their lives are a wonderful example to a hurting world, being firm in Who they believe in.
- Patience: The joke is, “don’t pray for patience or you might get it!” But we cannot avoid situations, or people, requiring patience from us! God desires patience in our lives, and knows that we will have more joy and less stress when we exercise this quality. It helps to remember just how patient He is with each of us!
The qualities of endurance, steadfastness and patience are to be desired by Christians. They are necessary for our lives and will help us honor Christ in all we do. Yes, there is joy in trials and temptations of every kind because in Him, the victory is ours!
When have you been called on to exercise steadfastness, endurance and patience? Have you seen growth in your life through their “thorough work?”