What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

Day 3 of 7 • This day’s reading


“Calculate the Results of Your Trials”

Trials Produce Durability

James says that the testing of our faith produces patience. “Patience” is not a passive term but an active one. It is not a resignation to whatever happens but a strong and tough resolution in the midst of very adverse circumstances. It would be better translated as “steadfastness,” “perseverance,” or “brave endurance.”

This word is used in Job in James 5:11: “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” Trials in the lives of believers refine their faith so that the false is stripped away and the genuine faith that continues to trust God can develop victorious positive endurance.

William Barclay points out that the endurance of the early Christians was not a passive quality: “It is not simply the ability to bear things; it is the ability to turn them to greatness and glory. The thing which amazed the heathen in the centuries of persecution was that the martyrs did not die grimly; they died singing.”

Trials Produce Maturity

James uses two expressions here to define maturity in the life of the believer. When durability has done its work, it causes the Christian to be “perfect” and “complete.”

First of all, mature believers are perfect. This word means “to be fully developed.” Without durability in trials, believers have not yet fully matured. They must learn to persevere in trials so that the work that God has begun in them will be brought to completion.

Three times Paul asked the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh. While that request was not answered as Paul desired, God did answer him: “My grace is sufficient in you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” The term “perfect” is the same word that James uses here. We are to persevere in our trials so that the work that God has begun in us may be brought to completion.

Second, mature believers are complete. This word refers to something that has all its parts and therefore is whole. It is possible for Christians to be fully grown or mature in most areas in life but be missing this ingredient of steadfastness in trials. Until this has been experienced , they are not yet complete.