At the beginning of his letter to the early church, James writes: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).
Isn’t it odd that we are to rejoice and celebrate when we face difficulties, trials, and hardships? When our life is squeezed and pressed, James calls us to count it all joy. But the reason lies behind knowing the purpose: “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” and James goes on to clarify that it is when patience has done its work that we become perfect, complete, lacking nothing. But none of that happens without the difficulties, trials, and hardships.
Patience is more than just remaining calm in a traffic jam. Patience is a steadfastness, constancy, and endurance. One biblical dictionary defined patience as “the characteristic of a Christian who is unswayed from their deliberate purpose and their loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”
I like how my friend Eric Ludy defines this Greek word for patience (hypomenō). He says patience is “the brave calm and steadfast courage of the Christian soul … [it is] to remain unmoved, to not recede or flee, to stand fast amidst the most severe misfortunes and trials and to hold fast one’s faith in Christ to the end; to endure and bear ill treatments bravely and calmly.”
Why should we willingly face trials, suffering, difficulty, hardship, and challenging situations? Because we know God will use those circumstances to produce a “brave calm and steadfast courage” in our lives. And it is that brave calm, steadfast courage, and constant endurance which produces integrity, maturity, and brings us to a place where we lack nothing (for in every trial and difficulty we find the sufficiency of Jesus Christ … thereby lacking nothing – see 2 Peter 1:3).
Are you facing trials and hardship in your life right now?
Rejoice! Let God use the circumstances you are in to bring about patience in your life.
Know I am cheering you on unto that end!