This letter from the Apostle James, the brother of Jesus, seems to be written specifically to us, doesn't it? Just like the early Christians, we find our faith tested. But as James reminds us, these trials serve a purpose. They help to refine us, evolve us and ultimately grow us to flourish in whatever plan God has for our lives. Remember that the purpose of our life is to glorify God, and if we are lacking in some manner, it is His prerogative to deal with our shortcomings and push us in a different direction. It is our choice whether or not to view these trials as an opportunity to grow towards Him.
I receive a newsletter from a Messianic Jewish organization in Israel, and it's always interesting to see their worldview. This month, writer Phil Wagler perfectly captures what we are facing. He writes, We are in a season of transition and tension being prepared for the coming of Jesus. When He comes we will be like Him (I John 3:2). Therefore, this is also a time of becoming more like Him. We will be then, what we are becoming now. He is bringing us into His likeness. He has ways of removing from us everything that is not like Him.... We stay the way we are until the pain of remaining the same becomes too great. God brings trials to pressure us into becoming complete.
And that is what our Scripture today is reminding us. We are far from being complete in His image, and there are sure a lot of things in this world that are not like Him! We all know that, and we know our society and nation need to change. So is it possible that we might look outside ourselves and upon our coming trials as a reason to glorify the Lord who is allowing them to happen?
Can you consider this .... that Faith is a decision to walk through circumstances which are beyond our abilities? We MUST come to the realization that circumstances have no power over us and that the issue is not what happens to us, but how we respond to it! Our faith is increased by walking through difficulties, and choosing to be obedient to His discipline, as hard as that might be.
So once again, I remind you that our faith is increased by walking through difficulties. And there is no doubt that we have a difficult path before us. You must embrace the fact that God usually does not remove painful situations but gives us grace to go through them. That grace is our victory. And as writer Wagler summarizes, We must trust God's government over the circumstances in our life. And count them all as joy for His glory!