Day 2: The Growth Process
Have you ever practiced for something? Maybe it was practicing basketball so you could make the team. Maybe it was learning how to play in instrument. Maybe it was learning a new language. Whatever you practiced, the growth you experienced required challenging and pushing yourself. Through this process, you developed grit.
The process of working for the desired result is something that clearly is not glamorous. The basketball player getting in reps in the gym. The musician honking out wrong notes. The moment when you say the wrong word and get into an awkward conversation. None of these are glamorous, but all of these trials are a part of your growth.
When it comes to our growth in grace, we also will face trials. As voluntary slaves of Jesus, we know following Him will not always be easy. We know we will face challenges and trials in this life, yet according to James, the trials and struggles we face have a bigger purpose for us…
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”- James 1:2-4
James begins by saying we are to look at trials through the lens of joy. This seems like a crazy idea because there seems to be very little joy in the process of working out, learning an instrument, or learning a language. It is also difficult to have joy in trials, but you see joy, in trials, comes from fixing our gaze on the end. When we see the reward and result of our journey, it gives us the strength to continue on the hard days.
We can have joy in difficult and trying situations and circumstances in our lives because we realize no matter how difficult and hard the trials we face are God is working through this trial to make us more like Him. We are being refined and strengthened into becoming who we were truly created to be. We can have joy because we know the end of the process.
Next, James shows us the process of trials. He says “the testing of our faith” produces “steadfastness” and “steadfastness” produces completion in who we were made to be.
A trial is defined as a testing of our faith because it is in trials where we are challenged at the core of our beliefs. It is easy for us to say that God is good when life is going well. It is easy for us to say that God is in control when our lives are going according to our plan. But when we find ourselves in a trial, we find these truths brought into question. To believe something means a person holds on to the truth of what they believe regardless of what their circumstances may dictate.
The testing of our faith leads to “steadfastness.” This is a word that means “endurance and consistency.” Just like lifting weights at the gym builds a person’s muscles, so holding onto faith in the midst of trial builds greater faith. Through difficult trials, our faith is being built.
The “steadfastness” leads to a perfect and complete faith. Through trials and growing your faith, your faith will become solid. The idea here is that there are no holes. It is a solid rock.
Your faith grows through trials, holding on to what you believe despite bad situations, and will become a solid faith. This is the process of growing in grace that James shows us.
It has been said about trials and challenges that you are either in a trial, have just come out of a trial, or will soon be in a trial. When the trials come, will you follow Jesus through the trial or will the trial drive you away from Him?
- In your time of trial, whenever that may be, will you allow your trial to draw you closer to God and deeper in your faith?
- Or will you allow your trial to challenge what you know to be true about God and push you away from Him?