We’ve all heard the saying a thousand time and then some… but in almost every case, we are only thinking of this saying in a physical manner. We understand the concept that new muscle can not be built up until the old fatty tissue is torn down. But this concept goes far beyond just muscles.
The military cannot build up a quality soldier until they first tear down the individual. Yes, they do face hard physical challenges but the real job is much more mental. A major objective of boot camp is to tear down all the ‘individualistic’ characteristics of this person so they can build the team characteristics of a good soldier. There is no way to gain a quality soldier without that soldier first going through pain.
So if we know for a fact that this concept works with physical… and we can clearly see how it also impacts the mental… why is it such a stretch to grasp this concept in the spiritual?
James tells us to “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 is not telling us to “enjoy” the pain, but instead to see the joy in the results of that pain. Just as a weight lifter seems to enjoy the pain because of the muscles that will be created… we are to enjoy the trials because of the “steadfastness” it will produce in our lives.
But unlike they physical relationship between pain and gain, the spiritual relationship does not occur automatically. As we face trials in this world, they are designed to “test our faith”. Like any test, failing the test produces no growth, but passing the test provides the very gain necessary to produce steadfastness.
So how do we pass the test? We don’t… at least not on our own strength. Just as we cannot not produce fruit without remaining connected to the vine… we cannot pass the test of trials without remaining in Him. In the same way that Paul survived all of his trials… by knowing and believing that “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)
Every trial we face… every single one… is designed for us to grow in steadfastness. Some trials are designed by the enemy and some by The Father, but every one is permitted by Him who desires nothing more than for you to grow.
So whatever your trial… whatever you face… know that there is something in it that He as designed for you to grow through. He doesn’t expect you to ‘enjoy’ the trial but He does want you to fine the “joy” in the result.
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