By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
During the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, builders had to construct an elaborate trestle across a deep canyon. After it was built, the chief engineer wanted to test it. A train loaded with double the normal train cars and supplies was driven to the middle of the bridge, where it stayed for an entire day.
Someone asked the builder, “Are you trying to break the bridge?” The answer was no. “I am trying to prove that the bridge will not break,” was his reply.
In the same way, God allows us to be tested. There is a spiritual hedge of protection around the life of the believer that can only be penetrated with God’s approval. In times of testing, God wants to strengthen us through the trials so that we will be made ready for His service.
James opened his epistle with bold advice to believers during a time when many Christians were being persecuted and tortured for the name of Christ: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
Whether we like it or not, how we respond to hurt, disappointment, and spiritual setbacks will affect our spiritual growth. If we go through trials with a reluctant attitude and an unteachable heart, we will miss out on the blessings God has for us, but if we go through our trials with joy, trusting God to prune us, we will find that our trials are producing growth and character strength in our lives. Only when we view our trials from a godly perspective will we reap the blessings of spiritual maturity.
God does not allow us to face needless trials. Most of what we face comes as a result of living life in a fallen world. However, we must learn to say no to anything that would prevent us from living holy lives before a holy God. When spiritual tests come, it’s tempting to fight God’s perfect working in you—but don’t resist the purifying work of the Holy Spirit. Look to heaven and have confidence that Christ is working out His purposes in you.
Prayer: Father, when I am facing a trial, give me the strength to walk in joy, trusting that You are working out Your good purposes in me. Amen.
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).
As our culture becomes increasingly more secularized, the wisdom of God’s Word has never been more desperately needed. In his new book God, Just Tell Me What to Do, Dr. Michael Youssef applies the principles of the epistle of James to the problems and questions we face in the 21st century. Receive your copy today for a gift of any amount* to the ministry of Leading The Way, and take your faith to a deeper, more dynamic level with this new book.
*Giving offer available through August 31, 2014. Offer not available in Australia.