The Purpose Of Adversity – James 1:1-18
BOOK OF JAMES was written to church members who were no longer meeting together because they had been scattered all over the Roman Empire because of persecution.
James was not writing to them only about what we are supposed to believe, but more importantly, what we are supposed to do with what we believe.
James starts out with the most difficult topic, The Purpose of Adversity. He drew upon the life and teaching of his brother, Jesus, for inspiration.
His point is not that you should be happy when you suffer. Paul makes a similar point in Romans 8:28, where God comes and says, “if you trust me in the suffering, if you hold on to me in the suffering, I can work things out.”
Spiritual maturity is found in your ability to endure and to persevere in your faith and your faithfulness, when there’s nothing to hang your faith and faithfulness on, except God.
James says, “you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance…” In other words, the end result of all this is perseverance. What God wants to develop in you and develop in me is enduring, persevering faith to the point that when things get worse and worse, God can still count on us to say, I believe.
When a person is no longer depending on anything, but just their faith in who God is, he says that person is complete, they are lacking in nothing. And that ultimately, James says, that’s where our Heavenly Father wants to take all of us.
An overarching point to the first half of the first chapter of James is: “If we don’t quit, we win.”
What James is asking us to do is actually pretty simple. When you’re suffering, go to church, pray, serve other people. Don’t turn to the right or the left, just stay obedient, stay loving other people. Don’t turn away from God, in spite of the suffering, and it’ll turn you to pure gold.