James 1:2-4 (Berean Study Bible)
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.
A friend offers you temptations you’ve found difficult to avoid in the past. An employer demands to know why you can’t work on Sunday mornings. A close family member asks you to do something that would violate your personal beliefs.
Everyone’s spiritual walk will look a little different, but one thing is certain: it isn’t going to be easy on that straight and narrow path.
As Christians, we are promised that God will never leave us or forsake us. His loving attention and overwhelming grace is with us from the earliest beginning to the very end. However, it is important to note that God does not promise our Christian walks will be easy. Instead, He reminds us through the Apostles that our earthly sojourn will be fraught with difficult situations, dangerous circumstances, and hard things.
It can be scary to face the hard things that are growing in our lives. Perhaps there is a major change on the horizon, such as the loss of a job or the divorce of a spouse. Maybe an old chapter of your life is ending, while another is just beginning. There could be any number of hard things standing between yourself and the next step of your faith, and many of them feel impossible to handle alone.
Hard things are not always circumstances regarding external factors. In fact, most of the hard things that must be done in our lives include a response to internal stimuli. This can present itself in a number of ways. Friends, family members, or even members of the church could confront you with a situation that puts your physical, mental, and spiritual vigor to the test.
When the moment comes for you to face a hard thing head-on, will you be ready?
The writer of James reminds us of a simple but beautiful truth about doing hard things on this earth. Not only are we to embrace the trials that arise in our lives, but we are to celebrate them as well! This celebration is for the steadfastness acquired through faith, which is our reward for persevering through the more difficult trials of life. And what a reward it is!
The writer of James acknowledges the terrible trials and hardships that pursue those who follow after the Lord, but he also acknowledges that steadfast faith can never be removed, diminished, or destroyed by hardships that present themselves. Instead, our faith will be perfect, complete, and lacking in nothing! We are fully prepared to do the hard things that await us.
All of us will do hard things on our spiritual journeys, and each one of us will need to account to God for responses both good and bad. While we wait for His return here on Earth, let us not fall asleep, friends. Commit to steadfastness in your faith today!
What kind of difficult situation or hard task are you facing today? Is it something you have tried to overcome on your own before? In what ways can you face the hardest task of all: giving it up to Christ? Remember that God’s desire for His children is to give up their fears, pains, worries, and trials at the foot of the Cross. Face hard things today, and expect great things from your Father in Heaven!
Romans 8:35-31 (New English Standard Version)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 15:18-20 (Berean Study Bible)
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.”