Devotion for January 28, 2024

“When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4, NLT)

It’s possible to grow during times of bright, fair weather — but you put down deeper roots during the dark days of life.

As a pastor, I heard from countless people who said they had grown more through separation, illness, job loss, or tragedy than they would have otherwise. They recognized how God had used difficulty to draw them closer to him and mature them.

The Bible says it this way: “When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:3-4, NLT).

When you let God into your problems and don’t push him out, then you’ll develop endurance that will make you ready for anything — strong in character, full and complete.

Pain is the high cost of growth. The old cliché is true: There is no gain without pain. We want the quick solution and the easy fix. We want the pill or the seminar or the book that’s going to change everything without pain. We want the product that brings maturity without the painful process. But that isn’t going to happen!

Theologian J. I. Packer said, “God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with all the other inflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. It deepens our dependence upon Christ for strength each day. And the weaker we feel, the harder we lean, and the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually.”

The very thing that’s discouraging you right now is the very thing God is using to develop you right now.

How was David able to write such beautiful and powerful psalms? Because through all the loneliness, neglect, and injustice he went through as a young shepherd and even as a king, David knew God was with him the whole time. David wrote his most beautiful words in his deepest pain.

There will be growth in the painful parts of life that you will not gain any other way. The process will not make you perfect, but it will move you toward being more like Christ. And if you’ll trust God to keep you and walk with you in your pain, he will develop endurance in you and give you his peace and rest.

Prayer

Lord, help me to face my difficulties with Your mercy and love, and let me grow in my faith closer to You in all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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