Proper response to testing
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
From the text, trials are of many kinds, but believers can triumph over them. Then in verse 2, James declared that when Christians experience trials they should “consider it an opportunity for great joy.” This does not suggest that we should seek out trials nor are we to pretend that enduring trials is pleasant. Trials can inflict pain and difficulty. Still, the challenge for us is to see that trials can present to us an occasion potential for producing something good in us. This calls us consciously to develop a proper response toward trials. There will be times that trials are God’s ways of disciplining His children as they produce in them holiness. “For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). Then James explained how believers can experience joy as they face trials. God’s purpose is to develop a character of perseverance in us and this is what testing could produce. Without these trials, some character could be restrained in their development within the life of believers. God also uses trials to eliminate and remove flaws that could hinder the development of our faith. A believer who is persevering in times of testing will grow into maturity. Every trait needed for spiritual victory will be manifested as they respond to trials. Having a positive outlook like this naturally describes trials as an occasion for great joy. Christian living, which is not easy to begin with, never gets easier. Life gets more and more difficult, the problems harder to work through. This observation provides us a way to check our own spiritual pulse. We dare not give up or lose sight of our goal of spiritual maturity. Instead let us trust God and believe that He is developing characters He desires for us to have so that we will remain strong and steadfast in times of testing.
Noel De Guzman