Faith Fitness

“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 AMP)

I confess: I have struggled with the idea of considering a tough situation joyful. Typically, when I find myself in a tough situation (a trial), I am filled with anxious thoughts, lose my appetite, and can’t sleep. Joy is not the emotion that comes to my mind. So, I have been meditating on James’ words. How could I possibly consider a tough situation joyful?

I have decided that God uses trials the way a football coach uses drills at team practice — to build endurance, confidence, strength, skills, faith in the methods, faith in each other, and faith in the plays. Many football players don’t consider team practice a joy. But when it’s “game day”, they play with the same endurance, confidence, strength, skills, and faith they developed in daily practice.

This is why I should consider the trials pure joy. After I have endured the trials, I can step up to life’s “line of scrimmage” with confidence and an understanding of what to do and how to do it. I become ready to win!

“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. [Acts 18:10.]” (Isaiah 41:10 AMP)

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(My favorite football player, Zachary Freeman, defensive tackle at Cornell College, November 2010.)

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