Before I was a Christian, I remember asking what was the purpose in the ”sufferings” I faced? I meant, why? Why, did I have to go through these times in my life? And I guess, ultimately, what good came from it?
Then I met Christ, and initially, you have that ”high” where you feel invincible to share the Gospel, and that fire inside that spurs you on…
But, I remember when my first ”trial” came, after giving my life to God, and my first thought was, ”what have I done wrong?” Then my thoughts went to ”why am I being punished? Is it because of my choices, before Christianity?”
While the second question I asked, back then, was somewhat incorrect, I now understand that being a Christian brings trials throughout life, because the enemy hates us and wants nothing more than for us to walk away from our faith!
There certainly have been times where although it never crossed my mind to do so, I could understand why people thought that walking away from Jesus was a right call – not only to take the enemy’s target off their back, but that as I talked about yesterday, feelings lie, and therefore, we assume that Jesus should take the pain of life away
Reading James, he is my kind of person. He is straight to the point when he starts to write his book, and declares that when troubles of any kind come our way – not if – because ”when” brings a certainty about it. But, he goes on to say that this is an opportunity for great joy
I remember reading this for the first time, and laughing out loud, and not in a good way, like in a kind of hysterical, oh my goodness, God has gone mad kind of way (I didn’t read the Bible until finding Christ at twenty-five) because my natural inclination was to then grab at Scriptures that showed that God would protect me, but in my head protection meant no pain or suffering
Friends, we learn from Scripture that this world is ruled by Satan, which makes sense with how messed up it is. Yet, God’s promises to us are that He has saved our souls – which no ”man” can take from us (Matthew 10:28) and we will live for eternity because we choose Jesus (John 3:36)
The ”joy” that James talks about comes from God, and this is where that no matter what the world throws at us, we learn to be content because our strength comes from God. He keeps us focused on what really matters – eternity with Him – and therefore when our faith is ”tested” we grow closer and builds a more intimate relationship with God as He pours out His love, peace, and joy in these times; which then ultimately produces that endurance James talks about, to not only see us finish the race of our lives, but we smash it
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”James 1:2-4