Read James 1:2-4 NIV
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials and tribulations of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Some of the things I’ve become good at in my life are because I love doing them. Too many other things I’ve become good at are because I had to do them – over and over. Let’s call these the “yucky things”. When faced with “yucky things” most of us will find little ways to become more efficient at them to get them over with faster. You might even find a way to make them somewhat more enjoyable, or even fun or rewarding.
According to the dictionary, perseverance is “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” We could even replace “difficulty” in this definition with the word “yuckiness”.
You persevere through high school to achieve the success of independence or you persevere through difficult work assignments to achieve a raise. In fact, it’s pretty conventional wisdom that exchanging time doing “yucky things” to achieve success is just how it is. We may even say to each other “have faith in the system” or “have faith in the process”.
James is saying something different – that the hardships that test our faith produce perseverance, even when faith itself is being tested. In fact – the Greek term he uses for perseverance means “cheerful endurance”! The process of joyfully enduring trials and tribulations in faith creates mature Christians.
There certainly is a scale of trials and tribulations from “yucky things” to deeply troubling and long-lasting hardships. No matter how big or small the trouble, God has promised that joyfully persevering will strengthen our faith.
“Father God, I know that you see the trials and tribulations that I am walking through. Please teach me how to cheerfully endure them. Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond these circumstances but I trust that you are working out your loving plan for my life and know that you are always with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”