James 1:2–4 (ESV) “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Christians count the meeting of their trials joy – NOT because the trials are “joyful” in and of themselves. We do so because the unpleasant trials, due to Christ’s redemptive work, will make them useful to us in joyful results. If our single goal for our lives is our Father’s – Christ’s likeness – then everything in life can be co-opted to that end. Even if what we suffer comes from the World, the Flesh or the Devil. In Christ, “all things are ours” (1 Cor. 3:21)
But we MUST remember this: Only one who remains undeterred (steadfast) and single-minded in pursuing Heaven and the likeness of Christ will gain the “full effect” – the “completeness” referred to here.
There are things which DRAW us off the road, things which BLOCK the road, things which DRIVE us off of the road, things which make the road HARD and things which make the road DANGEROUS. We must be ready to face them all if we will persevere and obtain.
So, what is so enticing that you are DRAWN off of the path today? What lures you away from holiness and the love of God as supreme in your heart and mind? What is it that you perceive as an imovable block to making progress? What have you been struck by, what disaster has plowed into you which has knocked you off course? What seemingly innocuous attention grabber steals you away from keeping on course, from keeping focused on the goal and active pursuing the goal? What difficulty ahead seems impossible to overcome? What seems to threaten your safety and well being if you continue?
Only steadfastness will serve to bring you to completion. DON’T GIVE UP NOW! “THIS” is what we are after, and thus we build our lives around “THIS”. That we may be like Him!