In reality, the only way out of a trial is through it. God never promised you a bypass, but He did promise to walk with you though your valley (Psalm 23). Your problem is an opportunity for three things.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (NLT)
Think About It
As you face problems with joy, knowledge, and wisdom, your spiritual endurance will be developed, resulting in your maturity, completeness, and satisfaction.
An Opportunity for Maturity
The word “perfect” (teleios) does not mean moral or spiritual perfection, or sinlessness, but rather refers to that which is mature. The word carries three similar, but distinct ideas.
- First, it means fully developed. It’s the difference between someone who masterfully plays the guitar versus someone who is just beginning. Over years of sacrifice, time, calloused fingers, and many mistakes, the guitar master seems to play perfectly. His skills have fully developed and matured.
- Second, it means fully grown. There is a difference between a baby and a full grown adult. Physically, emotionally, and mentally they are different. The grown-up can do many things the baby cannot, understand complex situations that the baby cannot, and sees the world through a more mature perspective. The adult is fully grown and mature.
- Third, it means in good working order. It’s like building a ship; when all the parts are put together and connected properly, it is ready for battle and it is perfectly suited to do the task it is meant to do.
The same is true for you. God uses trials in your life to develop spiritual endurance that results in spiritual maturity. Have you ever been around someone who recently became a believer and then you were separated from them for several years? When you met up with them again they had grown spiritually. Their prayer life was deeper. Their conversation about God’s Word was insightful. Their approach to life was God focused and they had a clear sense of why God made them and what their purpose was. Over the years, God has fully developed them and made them mature. The same is happening in your life. God is making you deeper and stronger with each trail you faithfully endure. God is using your problems to help you become a fully developed and fully grown follower of Jesus who is in good working order and ready for the task that He has created you for.
An Opportunity for Completeness
The word “complete” (holokleros) carries the idea of being whole. In the medical field of that time, they would use this word (holokleros) to describe someone who is sound, whole, or healthy. There is no major problem with their health. They weren’t missing anything, they were physically complete and were ready for whatever physical task was ahead of them. It was also used to describe a large stone that was removed from the ground to be used as a part of a building. It was complete and without any major defect ready to be used by the architect. Another way to look at it is like a puzzle with all its pieces. A believer can be mature in a lot of areas, but if they are lacking spiritual “endurance” (as the text implies), they are missing a vital piece of their life’s puzzle. They are not quite complete yet. Spiritual endurance produces spiritual completeness. It helps you to be spiritually healthy, ready for any task that is ahead of you and ready to be used by God, the architect of the universe.
An Opportunity for Satisfaction
The phrase, “needing nothing,” refers to having everything you need to accomplish whatever it is God wants you to accomplish. It reinforces both ideas of being “perfect and complete.” You will have what it takes to get through the trial, problem, crisis, or difficulty that comes your way. Spiritual endurance does not make the problem easier, it just guarantees you won’t quit and you will experience the victory that waits for you on the other side of the trial. With that comes a deep sense of satisfaction, the satisfaction of knowing you can make it and the satisfaction of knowing you will honor God as you go through it.
Have you ever thought about spiritual endurance as a key aspect in your spiritual maturity? What has God used or is currently using to develop spiritual endurance in your life? How is it helping you be mature and complete? Describe a believer who doesn’t have spiritual endurance.
Heavenly Father, even though I would prefer not to go through some of the trials I have gone through, I know they helped to develop more spiritual endurance in me. Through them, I would be mature and complete and ready to face other mountains ahead of me with determination and commitment, knowing that You would receive glory and I would experience the victory on the other side because I chose not to quit. Amen.