I just got done reading the books of James and 1 Peter. If you haven’t read them in a while(or ever), I’d suggest reading them again. Like most of the Bible, they’re very encouraging to the soul. They’re full of very real stuff. Most people don’t like to talk about it much: the testing of our faith.
The reason I think a lot of people don’t like this subject is this: life is difficult. At least, from a worldly perspective it is. Just the thought of a little “responsibility” or “pain” seems proposterous to us, especially when we think about God. After all, isn’t God supposed to make our lives super easy, full of rainbows and butterflies? Well, no. Jesus did say “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” So, there’s still a burden to carry. It’s just an easier one with Jesus by your side, and that’s a very good thing.
Life will have opportunities to do good. The saddest thing I’ve ever heard is when people speak of their faith in God as “just their own personal faith”, therefore taking God out of the picture of their daily lives and actions. The point of the book of James is this: real faith will live up to the test. Real faith will deny greed and give money away to those who need it. Real faith will comfort the hurting. Real faith will do something about injustice. We must seize every God-given opportunity to do good.
Life will have suffering. If you want to know a real Christian, look for this: will he stand up under pressure? Will he keep faith when everything the world is saying is against him? A true Christian will stand in faith, because he knows how great a rock he stands on. Christ suffered for us first, so the least we can do is try to be holy.
Here’s the point. There will be trials and tribulations if you’re living for God. Life may be rough, but what tests ultimately produce in our lives is a stronger faith, closeness to God, and a greater understanding of Christ’s sacrifice for us. I don’t know about you, but I definitely want all those things. That’s why we can have joy, because we know that God will always work for our good.
“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.”
“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”–1 Peter 4:19