Monday, 3 June 2019
…knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:3
James began the general content of his letter with the previous verse. This verse finishes the thought. Together, they read –
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
James equates “various trials” with “the testing of your faith.” Understanding this he states it in such a way that we are to learn a lesson from it. He states it as, “knowing that the testing of your faith.” There is to be a mental acknowledgment that our trials of various sorts have purpose, and they are not merely random events.
We can either take our trials badly, or we can “count it all joy” when they come. Either way, the choice is ours because when they have come, they must be responded to. By taking the admonition of Scripture, and by counting with all joy that we have fallen into various trials, the result is that this test of the faith “produces patience.”
The verb used is one which signifies, “‘work down to the end-point,’ i.e. to an exact, definite conclusion” (HELPS Word Studies). In other words, there is a final point, an end goal, which is being worked for (or at least anticipated) when one is tested. That is to bring forth patience. In this, one matures in his ability to endure other trials which are sure to come along, and they become an example to others of how to properly handle such matters as well. This logical progression of thought is also spoken of by Peter –
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9
Life application: When facing trials, the Lord already knows if our faith is genuine, so such a test isn’t for Him to learn anything. If it were, what would be the point in salvation through faith? He would be looking for works to validate our faith, thus negating the faith. Further, He knows how much we can take, and He understands our limitations.
As we face more challenges though, our ability to face those which are more intense will increase as well. Think of faith as a muscle. When we exercise our muscles, they grow and can withstand more and more work. Faith works in a similar fashion. Because of this, the Lord will challenge it to strengthen it.
In the end, your faith will be as strong as He believes is necessary for His sovereign purposes. And then some wonderful day, our faith will become sight. This will happen when Jesus appears to transform our bodies to be like His. That day is coming, but until it does, have faith… and work out your faith to His glory.
Lord, You know the truth of my faith. You know I love you and that I trust in You alone for my salvation. Increase my faith that I can have a long, strong, and stable walk with You. May You be glorified through the ever-increasing faith I display in You. Amen!