November 23

James 1:2-4 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This must certainly sound strange to most ears, joy in the face of trials. James explains that we should be joyful because the testing of our faith develops a quality of character in our life that is like that which Christ exhibited, perseverance. Without that quality, our effectiveness for the Lord will end when the going gets tough, and it will get tough. That is why the Lord allows the trials of many kinds to come our way.

Trials are like an old method of growing winter rye. When it sprouted, the farmer would tramp on it to keep it from growing. This caused the roots to grow deeper, finding more nourishment. It also kept the rye from maturing too quickly and freezing.

God is more concerned about your preparation for eternity than He is about your temporal happiness. He is making you into a mature and complete Christian, one who lacks nothing. The training process is not easy. Solid growth comes through difficult conditions.

Do you feel tromped on? Are you wondering why it is so hard when you are still so young in Christ? Trust the Great Farmer. He is working something into your life that you desperately need if you are going to produce fruit. It is the only path to maturity. So don't complain; be joyful! God has a plan for your life. This trial is for a glorious purpose. You need it. You will learn more quickly when you recognize that it is a necessary process for your growth.

Meditation: The trials in my life are developing Christ like character. That is a reason for joy in the midst of them.