"Consider it all joy, my brothers, whenever you experience VARIOUS trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces ENDURANCE. But...endurance must do its complete work SO THAT [the object of the exercise] you may be mature and complete, lacking NOTHING!" James 1: 2-4
I have the wonderful joy and privilege of teaching a sweet group of Mommas on Wednesday nights. We are currently studying the book of James as we walk through Jean Stockdale's study, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Jesus Fairest of Them All.
As is usually the case, I never teach that God does not hone in on ME most of all through the material taught. I have not been able to get away from this verse since we began to study it. I think one reason is, that with Jean's help, I've seen it more deeply that ever before.
The word "various" means 'varigated' or 'multi-colored', much as you would think of Joseph's multi-colored coat made for him by his father, Jacob. Our trials are all different. And, when we realize that NOTHING....absolutely nothing...comes into our lives without being filtered through the loving fingers of our Heavenly Father, we realize that each of our trials is uniquely crafted to bring about a desired end....the maturing of our faith.
But...did you know that with each trial you face, there is a corresponding grace to handle that trial? I Peter 4:10 says "Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good mangers of the varied grace of God". That word "varied" is the same word used in James 1: 2.
I Peter 1:6 also says "You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith...more valuable than gold which perishes though refined by fire...may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
I don't know of anyone who enjoys going through trials. I certainly don't. Considering it JOY or REJOICING in them seems foreign not to mention impossible! Yet we must realize that the trials God allows into our lives are not meant to destroy us, but rather to refine us. Refining precious metals requires the ore to be fired in a furnace at extreme temperatures in order to burn away the dross, the impurities that pollute it. The test of the refiner is when he can finally look into the cauldron of ore and see his reflection.
God desires to purifiy us, to remove impurities in our lives and hearts that pollute us and keep us from reflecting Him. It can be a painful process, but there is always pain in growth. We can also take comfort in knowing that for every unique trial that we go through, God has a hand-crafted, personalized grace sufficient to help us to endure. We must also remember that there is a desired end...namely that our faith will come to maturity, be complete, lacking NOTHING and that our lives will reflect the Son and bring honor, glory and praise to Him.
And to that end, we can truly considert it joy and REJOICE!!
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