Spiritual maturity comes through … suffering. And suffering from failure. So we welcome life-changing trouble. This article by BCC counselor Donna Hart, PhD, appeared first here on her blog.
It has always seemed a bit counterintuitive that God would bring us to maturity through the challenges of suffering. There is a simple equation in James 1:2-4 for producing a mature faith.
My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
The equation formula says that testing results in endurance which produces maturity. As we continue reading the book of James we discover that maturity has a missional purpose.
Trouble Leads to Courage
This is a maturity that is for the purpose of courageous loving service to others. James 1:22-26 says we are not to just hear the Word we are to be doers of the Word. Working for the Lord is a necessary companion to and evidence of our maturity becoming grounded in obedient action (James 2:14-26).
There is nothing we can do to secure our security, hard as we do try. True security is only a gift of God. As we read and study the Old Testament we see that God is most angered when His people try to set up their lives in ways to secure their own security, rather than trust in His provision, making faith unnecessary.
Trouble Leads to God-Dependence
God wants us to live our lives in such a way that we are dependent upon Him. Psalm 50:15 gives a clear view of His intent.
Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
When are we most aware of our need for God and responsive to Him? When we get in trouble.
God wants us to call on Him in the day of trouble. The formula for right relationship with God according to Psalm 50:15 is to get in trouble, call out to God with our need, He rescues, and He gets the glory.
When was the last time you got into trouble? Did you call out to God and see Him rescue you?
How Faith Grows
In order for our faith to grow we need to get into trouble, even in the midst of fear and failure. A sure way to grow our faith is to put ourselves in positions where we can fail and have no choice but to depend on God.
Is it time for us to get in trouble?
Trouble is that place of desperation where we can do nothing but fail on our own, and we have to cry out to God for His intervention. It is a place where we are aware we need rescue because we are at the end of our faith. It is a place where the only one who can save us is God.
When was the last time you called out to God from a place of trouble? How did God respond?
On the mountain top I felt happy and secure. I didn’t call out to God for help. However, when I was looking for a job I stayed in prayer hourly for God to open doors or shut doors for His perfect will for my new employment.
My faith grows more and more when I see the impossible happen during difficult times.