None of us in life are immune to trials. We face obstacles everyday in our lives. Whether it is family issues, church issues, addictions, or problems at work. We all face tests to our faith. I don’t know about you, but when I am faced with those trials, I sometimes wonder where is the victorious life Jesus promised. You see, many times I have the wrong attitude and focus in my life. Surprise Surprise! You do too so go ahead and admit it!
Many times when we approach an obstacle or a trial in our life, our goal is to remove it. Get rid of it. To leap over it with a single bound! But have you stopped to consider that maybe that obstacle has a different purpose than just being a hurdle in the race of life?
James 1:2-4 (New Living Translation)
Faith and Endurance
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
According to James, we are not to great trials and obstacles and hurdles with a desire to get around them or over them, but we are to accept them with great joy! “Yeah Right!” you are saying. Me too at times. But if you allow the Lord to change your perspective, then you can look upon those obstacles as opportunities, trials as testings, adversity as advancement!
Let’s look at the perspective that James had.
- An obstacle is an opportunity to have our faith tested. If you never exercise your muscles atrophy. You become weak and are unable to do the simplest things. Trials and adversity tests our “faith muscle”. They cause us to become stronger. You can call them your Gold’s Gym of spiritual living. So take a look at the obstacle in front of you. How is it testing your faith? Is it making you rely more upon God? Is it causing you to depend on Him more? Have you spent time on your knees asking Him to show you what He wants you to learn spiritually through this? Until you understand the nature of the trial and it’s purpose with a kingdom perspective, you can never overcome the obstacle in the right way and you can never truly have a victorious life.
- Obstacles in your life, do not go away overnight. In fact, according to James they are to be used to work on your endurance. The Christian life is not a sprint, but a marathon. The adversity that you have in front of you, is meant to cause you to be able to walk the life of faith with patience, perseverance, and long suffering. So, if you are tempted to use a quick fix, an easy out, a short cut to getting out of the mess you find yourself in, I think it would be safe to assume, it is probably not God’s way out. So in order to truly overcome those obstacles and live victoriously, you have to walk through them with a perspective of what the long term benefit is, not the quick fix. Can you truly say you overcame an obstacle when in all honesty, you cheated and got around it? I can guarantee you this. If you try to take a short cut, you can be rest assured you will have to deal with this issue again. God doesn’t let you a monopoly card that advances you to go. You have to walk every step there.
James say to let your endurance, your patience grow. Let the trial and the obstacle do what it is supposed to do. Let it produce patience in you. Because if you do that, then He says you will be perfect (mature) and complete, needing nothing. Wow! Now that sounds like the victorious and abundant life to me! It is amazing what you find that happens when you let God do what He wants in your life, rather than trying to run from things He uses to make you grow. It took me a long time to learn this lesson, and I am still learning. But think about it. If it is God’s desire to bless you financially, is He going to do so when you haven’t learned money management? Or if it is His desire to use you in a healing or evangelistic ministry, is He going to do so if He knows you still have a pride problem and will take the glory for yourself? He has enough self annointed and self appointed prophets and healers running around as it is! So have patience, let Him do what He wants to do. He will not do it through you, until He has done it in you!
Now that is something to think about!