“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
Let’s face it; we are always going to have trials and obstacles in our lives that distract us. The verse above is a popular one. I think many use it as an inner strength, motivational verse and rightfully so. When James wrote these words he was writing to the early followers of Christ. These people were watching their friends and family being persecuted regularly. They were living in fear. The faith they had in Christ was all they had to depend on during those hard times. The perseverance in this verse was built around that faith and the knowledge that God would ultimately hold firm. FAITH is the focus of this verse.
Now, let’s jump back to a quick look at how Jesus ends His famous sermon on the mount. He says “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” He was requiring a lot of faith and trust from His followers in His direction.
The fact of the matter is, through our obstacles we will be challenged. However, obstacles in life are just building blocks for our character in Christ, but also our understanding of the character of God. Our God will not leave us and will hold strong in our struggles. It is up to us to allow our faith to be built up correctly. Jesus’ words encourage us to build our house of faith in His strength, not our own. Our character can be built like a skyscraper, firm and strong; or it can be built like an outhouse where there isn’t much to it and is kind of smelly. We need to allow the obstacles to build character and perseverance, but we need to build wisely. May the character of God be shown through our time of struggle and know that our faith is made stronger through His work.