So, we have determined that the reason we face trial and difficulty is so that the Lord can develop endurance within us. That aspect of His nature that resembles his everlasting and eternal quality. Through suffering we become more like Him and can bear His image more fully on the Earth. A true reason to rejoice!
So my question for us today is: how is this done? How exactly is endurance bolted into us? Yes, it is done through the use of trial, but how exactly does that establish endurance within us? What changes?
James explains that endurance forms when our faith is tested. When it is proved and refined. When it is pushed to its limit. When it is bent and bruised and beaten. That is when endurance grows.
A good example is the human body. Back in the day when I used to gym (I know, you wouldn’t say it, would you…), I would try to build muscle by doing as many different weight exercises as I could. After a month or two, I picked up some muscle, but it never grew any bigger. I asked the gym instructor what I was doing wrong and he explained to me that even though my strength was at a certain level, I needed to start pushing my limit and begin lifting weights that were almost too heavy for me, and at the same time drink and eat a lot of protein. He explained that as the muscles tore the protein would go and fill the open spaces and that would subsequently grow my muscles. And faith is much the same.
For endurance (muscles) to grow, faith (strength) needs to be pushed to its limits. And as it tears, and we eat and drink of the Lord, those gaps begin to fill up with the protein of His life, and our endurance grows bigger and stronger. Yes, it is difficult, and for a time, while the protein is setting into the open tears, we must walk around with paining muscles, but at the end of the day the result is a stronger and more sturdy spiritual frame that is full of faith and resembles Christ. And that is another true reason to rejoice!
Lord, I ask that we will see trial and suffering from your perspective. That we would see it as you, the heavenly gym instructor increasing the weights that we exercise our muscles with. So that our spiritual bodies will not be so weak and frail, but instead be strong, fit and full of faith like Jesus Christ. Teach us your ways. Amen