James 1:2-4 ESV “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.”
Forgive me for using a verse twice in the same month. However, this verse is so rich and we had a bonus week so I thought it was worth revisiting.
Stretching gives us a shot at significance. James 1:2-4 explains how being stretched works in
our faith. First, notice that the starting point is joy. We should think of stretching as something joyful, something to be looked forward to. Which is why last week's message of stretching being a lifestyle is so important. But what should we take joy in? The next line says, “when you meet trials of various kinds.” We should take joy, we should have anticipation, in being stretched! Not in just one way, but in various ways. For stretching, it isn't a one and done activity just like I talked about in August 10 Faith Lane.
What happens when we take joy in being stretched? Well, then we have the opportunity to be tested (verse 3) to see if our values hold true to who we are as a person and who we are growing to be. It is the evidence of our character that shows up when we face trials.
Then, as our character is being tested and proven and demonstrated to the world through our trials, it takes on its full effect. You shine a light for people to see. We are a witness of who we are in our faith, and once we have that faith, then we are shown as being perfect and complete and lacking in nothing. Not that we are perfect, but that we demonstrate perfection and completeness, because we are showing to lack in nothing. We don’t need to add something else to make us complete. We are complete in our pursuit of Christ.
Go, and outlive your limits!