In today’s COVID-19 devotional, Matt shares about what we can learn in the book of James about our struggles and how God is using these trials to shape us to be more like Him.
James 1:2-4 says,
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
How are we supposed to take joy in trials? What is James thinking here? Is this just a call to wishful thinking, or is this in opposition to the mourning that David led us in Psalm 13?
We rightly feel the tension between taking joy and lament or mourning. We lament our circumstances and cry out to God in faith for help. Our taking joy is found in God who is our help. James says that all this struggle is being used by God to make us mature and complete. But what does that mean? It means that God is using trials to make us whole. As sinners, we are fractured, broken, and less than fully human. God uses trials to mold us more and more in the image of Christ if trust in him through it. C.S. Lewis gives great examples of this through Eustice in the Chronicles of Narnia’s “Voyage of the Dawntreader” and “The Silver Chair.” Eustice goes through some pretty intense trials, but comes out of it fairly stronger, righteous, and more Christ-like. If you are an athlete or a musician, you know that practice is often arduous, at times tedious, and something painful. Sometimes practice is far harder than the game or the performance. Yet, practice is how we improve and grow. Trials are God’s means of growing and maturing us, if we trust him, to become more like him. So take courage, but be hopeful. This season isn’t pointless. God will use it to shape you into his likeness if you trust him through it.
Will you take some time today to pray, maybe write your prayer in a journal or a notebook, to ask God how he is working to grow you in this season? Below you will find some suggestions for songs to worship God through and scripture to read for your devotions, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get regular devotionals and seek our creator and King together in this trying season.
Bible Project Overview of James:
Devotional Reading: James 1
– How is God challenging you to grow in this season?
– How is social distancing pushing you to be closer to God?
– How can you take joy in who God is more today?
Originally Published April 7, 2020