Break the Continuous Loop

Message: James 1 starts off with a bang when he tells us to “count it all joy when we experience various trials knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance.” As Christians I feel like we spend a lot of our time trying to avoid trials and when we are in them we are busy trying to pray ourselves out of them. Sometimes we get caught in the trap of trying to understand “why” and find ourselves on a continuous loop leading to nowhere. If our primary goal is to get out of our trials the chances are pretty slim that we are actually learning how to endure them well. These are the most important moments for us to step back and ask God what he is teaching us through the trial. The problem is that we don’t think to do that if we have a mindset that we aren’t supposed to be going through it in the first place. It’s important to note that James was not telling us “if we go through a trial here’s what to do”. He is saying “when you go through trials”. Trials are normal and they produce character in us but only if we let them. Imagine going to a gym and walking around all of the equipment because it’s in your way and you don’t understand why it’s there? People who work out don’t enjoy pain, but they subject themselves to it because that pain has purpose. Every time we work out a muscle it becomes stronger. Trials and testing our a normal part of life. God never promised to remove them. He promised that he would never leave us or forsake us, and he promised to walk with us through them. Now imagine being in that gym again and this time you get on the equipment with a trainer or coach standing by instructing and encouraging you? You are presented with the same obstacle and the same pain but this time it ha purpose and you are now celebrating your gains. Here is where verse 4 comes into play because it says “endurance must do it’s complete work so that we may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” If we don’t embrace the trial and let it work some character into us, our pain will be in vain. But if we embrace the trial and all of it’s pain it will develop character in us and strengthen our faith and our hope. There is so much more going on in James 1. This is one of my favorite books of the bible, but I just wanted to focus on these first few verses because it sets us up for how we handle and process life. If we don’t get this we will be frustrated walking into a continuous loop. If we do get it we will be able to handle anything that is thrown at us.

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