And Faith’s Best Friend Is…

This devotional comes from “Solid Joys,” the Android and iOS app from Desiring God that features daily devotions by John Piper.

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Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (James 1:2–3)

The testing of your faith through trials produces endurance.

What is the opposite of endurance? Well, I suppose the opposite of “endurance” is “petering out.”

When faith doesn’t endure it peters out. So if you don’t want your faith to peter out then you need some trials. Because James says it is trials that “produce endurance.”

This is odd. Most of us would say that faith endures in spite of trials, not because of trials. Most of us think that when trouble comes faith is threatened. We don’t usually attribute the duration of faith to the trouble it meets. But duration is what endurance means. James says, faith lasts, faith endures, because it meets trouble and threat.

This is odd. We might be willing to say that faith becomes deeper or stronger through trials. But that’s not the same as saying that faith endures because of trials.

Would any runner say that his ability to endure to the end of a race is enhanced by the number of people that knock him down?

Perhaps. Suppose there was a runner who loved flowers. Here he is, running along at the head of the pack when all of a sudden he is carried away by the beauty of a rose garden beside the lake. Forgetting the race and the rhythm of the wreath, he starts to leave the road and smell the flowers.

But all of a sudden, out of nowhere, someone (!) knocks him flat on his back. It hurts so bad that his nose for roses is gone. But suddenly he realizes that the race is still on and only those who finish get a prize. And he is up and running.

And could it be that the health, wealth, and prosperity teaching of our day is the enemy of faith because it teaches that faith’s best friend is her enemy.

Trouble: Faith’s Best Friends

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As I read this devotional, something occured in my mind.

I was reminded of Romans Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

You might find both passages do not have correlations at all, but there are. They both assess of troubles or sufferings and endurance or perseverance. They both tell us the great result if we face troubles.

I think it’s no coincidence that Paul and James wrote about the same things in their own unique way. The meaning is still ghe same: faith in Lord our God will never bring us to shame; instead, we will grow a hope in Christ that we will unite with Him when He comes the second time.

Lord Jesus blesses you!

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