Journey to maturity
This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings! 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 1:1-4 NLT
James grew up with Jesus and yet his regard for Him is daunting. James referred to himself as “a slave of God.” He also addressed Him “Lord Jesus Christ.” James’ clear recognition of who Jesus is to his life helps us understand why he is willing to endure even during times of difficulties. Difficulties are what will make us mature in our faith. It is during times of trials that we learn how to grow in our relationship with God. The journey to Christian maturity builds up from lessons learned from previous challenges in life. This is why we do not look at trials as roadblocks that we should endure but they are important in God’s goal for us to attain spiritual maturity. We won’t be able to reach the destination God had set for us without trials in life. Going through difficulties will enable us to reach our full potential. When James referring to trials in life said, “when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy,” he does not mean that we are to disregard our natural emotional reactions when times of testing comes. Our visit to the dentist is not always exciting for we know there will be pain involved. Yet, we do it because of the good it will provide in the long run. Same thing with trials in life, they are prescribed to us by God for His long range plan for our lives. So, as followers of Christ, we should expect that trials will come to us. What we value in life will determine our outlook in life. If we value comfort more than character, we will be upset when trials come. If you claim you are a follower of Christ and you expect that Christian life will be easy, you are in for a shock. Jesus gave this warning to His disciples, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Paul told those that trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, “They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). We must be committed to God and stay in the path He had set for us. This is how we will remain strong in times of trials. So, when times of hardship come, do not give up. Trust God!