Have you ever hit a wall? In other words, have you ever run into a situation that stops you in your tracks?
Life seems to be full of these moments. It’s like that old saying, “One step forward and two steps back.”
We get so discouraged because our lives don’t seem to pan out, at least not the way we had hoped. We experience difficult and trying times. I know in my own life it seems like I’ve experienced hardship more than happiness.
James writes some very familiar words in the first chapter of his book that will give us a much better perspective.
James 1:2-4 (ESV)
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
This morning during Coffee With God (my personal daily devotions), I opened an old Bible reading plan that wasn’t finished. It took me to James chapter one. This passage was supposed to be read last December, according to the reading schedule.
Of all places, God began to speak to me in the first four verses.
In verse two, the word “meet” stood out for some reason, so I looked it up in the Greek dictionary.
This word “meet” is translated from the Greek word peripiptō [per-ee-pip-to]. This is NOT a word used to describe a friendly “meeting” with someone over coffee. The word is used to describe an encounter with a hazard. For instance, it might be used to describe a ship hitting a sandbar, or a person falling into the hands of a gang of thieves.
James says to be glad when you fall into these tough times. These testings and trials can do a great work in your life.
When we go through difficult times (relying on God) our faith increases. James even says it produces endurance, patience and steadfastness.
I think we could liken this spiritual endurance building to physical exercise. When we exercise and tear down our muscles, bigger and stronger muscles grow.
Running is not always fun, but required if we want to build up our endurance. I have done my fair share of running and often times find myself hitting a wall. It’s common to reach a point in the workout when you feel like you can’t continue. Pushing through that moment, and completing the task builds up endurance. It’s even sometimes painful, but necessary. Quitting when you hit the wall, makes it easier to quit when you reach that point during the next workout.
The difference is, James is talking about Christians relying completely on God and His wisdom–not our own understanding, nor our own strength. Fully trusting in Christ can bring us through any situation. As the next few verses point out, it’s God’s wisdom that ensures we choose the right path as we travel life’s journey. James also added a reminder to let these difficult experiences have their full effect.
You have been inducted into a family of believers. Let these trials confirm that you are a genuine Christ follower and you are staying in the game for the long haul.
Don’t let hitting a wall now and then stop you!