James words are so helpful during this awful pandemic. He writes: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:2-8).
We “count it all joy” because we know that going through our trials will only help make us “perfect”. James uses the word to speak of our spiritual development. This happens when we face our trials with “faith”. It is a living, obedient faith that produces “patience” in our hearts. The word “patience” here means steadfastness, perseverance and endurance.
It is in our trials that we need “wisdom”. This includes knowledge, understanding and discernment that is so important in navigating through unfamiliar, difficult and dangerous times. James encourages us to go to God, the only true source of wisdom. God wants us to learn from Him but we must “ask in faith, with no doubting”. If our faith wavers in trial we will fail to develop the spiritual maturity necessary to gain God’s wisdom.
I am so proud to see what God is doing through each of you. No one has let the pandemic keep them from worshiping and serving the Lord every day. So many of you are reaching out to help and comfort one another. More and more prayers are being offered, the gospel is being shared all over social media in new and creative ways so that many more are being reached for Christ. The church is growing stronger and stronger through this test of faith, and closer and closer to one another and the Lord.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 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, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9).
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
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