Be Steadfast

Kyle Smith

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In many of my courses at a professor, I often give tests to students. Why? I do that because tests are a staple of education because they reveal what a student truly knows. He or she can talk all they want about their knowledge, but a test will show me if they have a solid foundation, or whether it's just smoke and mirrors.

In the following verses Paul speaks about testing--specifically, the various trials of life that help us develop steadfastness.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. [James 1.2-4, 12-15, ESV]

Let's examine several observations about steadfastness in trials that will help us understand and apply these verses:

1. Trials are an opportunity to increase your joy. We shouldn't confuse joy with happiness. Happiness is momentary and depends on your circumstances, whereas joy is consistent hope in what Christ has done for you.

2. Trials of various kinds will come. We shouldn't be surprised at the difficulties and tests of life, because everyone experiences them. No one is immune.

3. The way to develop steadfastness is by having your faith tested. Going back to the classroom analogy, the only way to truly determine a student's learning is by testing of some form or another. Likewise, the only way to truly know the strength of your faith is by putting it to the test.

4. Steadfastness produces maturity and completeness. The result of going through trials and having your faith tested is that you become a more mature person. You don't have to enjoy the process of getting there, but you can appreciate the result.

5. You are blessed when you remain steadfast. God has something special in store for his children who persevere under trials. You are blessed in ways you cannot experience otherwise.

No matter if you're enduring a test that is financial, relational, vocational, emotional, or physical, God is encouraging you to stay the course and persevere!

My Challenge To You

What kind of trial are enduring right now? Maybe it's a health issue for you or your loved ones. If so, I'm truly sorry. With Coronavirus, many of us have had a lot of challenges in the area of health. Maybe it's a lack of employment or you've lost work or something like that. Again, if so, I'm truly sorry. Please know that you're not alone. While these may seem like impossible challenge in your life, take some time to think about how these difficulties also represent an opportunity. Is there some way that you can begin to count it as joy?

Is there a way these challenges can help your faith grow in new ways? Is it making you more mature and patient? Is it helping you trust God more? These are questions that can help you look at your trials and tests in a new light where these experiences can be an opportunity for growth.

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St. Louis, MO
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