Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
I would tend to think of “testing of my faith” being perilously close to “struggling with doubt”.
However, the Spirit – who is sent to guide us into all the truth – prompts me to think of it more this way: If I have no trials, how would I know that I have faith that holds steadfast under strain? I would become spiritually flaccid without any opportunity to exercise my belief in Him. As for endurance, when one first starts to exercise, he is very limited as to what he can do. After much practice, though, staying power vastly improves. “Trials” are testing experiences that are more than we have tackled before. As our physical muscles were designed to improve with increased training, so our spiritual muscles with increasing trials.
All of 1 Peter 1 is an incredibly rich tapestry of the Life prepared for us: conceived and planned by the Father, purchased in blood by Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, stretching across history, predicted by prophets, and announced by first-century preachers; concerning grace, peace, fullness, mercy, hope, protection, salvation, eternal life, joy, praise, honor, love, glory, revelation, belief, faith, angels, and mysteries.
I am grateful for the grace that enables us to enter in to this magnificent journey with God, and to stay the course, if we are willing.
I am grateful for being a new creature! I thank you for opening the way to beholding this promise more clearly.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
As I meditated on this verse, I became mindful of all the (many) times since “accepting” Christ as Savior, that I have engaged in bad behavior. I was reminded that at no time does the Lord override my free choice. I have to recognize that “in” is not a state that is permanently imposed upon me, it is an invitation. He has done His part. Will I come in? Will I stay?
“Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; (Luke 21:34)
The price for my freedom has been paid. Choosing to stay free requires vigilance.
Though the world would otherwise be a (very) scary place, I am grateful for this promise; not just that in You, Lord, I can get by. I can actually have peace! I am grateful that the courage that I am encouraged to “take” is by faith in You and not something in me that I have to somehow live up to.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33