(This is a sample entry from my book, Vital Faith, a daily study through the book of James)
Day 2 Date Read: ___________
Today’s word from James:
Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For 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 strong in character and ready for anything.—James 1:2-4 (NLT)
*This week’s memory verse
Think about it …
What an abrupt transition. James says in verse one, “Hi, it’s me, James. How are you?” Then, boom. He gets right to it and in a surprising way. He says we should let our troubles be “opportunities for joy.” That’s not what usually pops into my mind when trouble finds me. But we have to admit James makes a truthful point. Faith is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. That’s just the way it is. There’s no short cut, because a short cut would cut the faith short of what it can and needs to be. Our faith in Christ grows stronger under pressure, not under pleasure.
James uses a word for “test” that is used to refer to the purification of metal. The goal of testing, James says, is to make us pure. So a faith test is an opportunity for purification, a workout that grows our faith to make us stronger.
An athlete works hard not so he will collapse but to make him able to develop more strength and staying power. In this world, trouble spots are not meant to take the strength out of us but to put the strength into us. To put it another way, a test is given to see if a student can pass, not pass out. You’ve heard it said that adversity builds character. That’s true. It’s also true that adversity reveals character.
- Looking back, how has God given me strength to face a difficult situation in my past?
- How has my relationship with God changed as I have gone through trials and difficulties?
- What’s going on in my life right now that’s an opportunity to let my endurance grow?
God, help me to see whatever happens today as something you can use to help me grow. Amen.
More words from the Word:
2 Peter 1:6
Greg Griffin is a Pastoral Counselor in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.