I’m slowly working my way through Beth Moore’s study on James right now. I so love doing studies in a small group! You get the benefit of accountability, but if you do it with someone else who also is short on time, you can stretch the study out.
James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kind because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work in you so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I love this perspective! Trials result in us being mature and complete, not lacking anything. I don’t know about you, but I seriously need some help. Immaturity and brokenness have been some of the hallmarks of my life.
In the study, Beth compares trial to robbers (p. 45). They steal things like our peace of mind, our hopes, our dreams, sometimes even just plain old things, like our time. But in Christ, they don’t have to be. As she puts it, “Trials don’t get to steal from followers of Christ, unless we hand over the goods. In fact, they’re commanded to give goods to us if we’re willing to receive them.”
It really puts a whole new spin on “sucking the marrow” out of trials. Lately as I’m re-writing, I’ve found myself meditating on old wounds and old shame. But I don’t have to be haunted by those things. I can go through the process of mourning, but also examine them for what treasures I left behind. I can change the past and walk away a victor. Robber or reaper . . . it’s up to me.
God, help me to reap maturity and completeness out of the trials I’ve been through. Don’t let me hang onto them pointlessly! Grow me, God! Show me what treasures I left behind. In Jesus’ Name, amen.