James: Try to keep a positive attitude when things aren’t going well.
Me: James, I know you are Jesus’ brother, but do you really expect me to be happy about facing trials? When my car broke down on the freeway in the middle of the night a positive attitude was not the attitude that immediately surfaced. I admit it ok, I was angry and fearful. Do you have any... idea what it is like to leave your car on the shoulder of the highway and walk 7 miles to an off ramp and look for a phone to get help? How about when I lost my job and my wife and kids were depending on me for food eat and a warm place to sleep? I did not smile with joy, I shook my fist at God and asked Him how He could allow it to happen. It is not fair that my family should be made to suffer because my company had to lay me off. I try to be a good follower of Christ but asking me to have a positive attitude when things go wrong and life is tough is a little hard to understand.
James: I understand how you feel, but when your faith is tested in that way, and you maintain a positive attitude, it can teach you to persevere.
Me: I don’t want to persevere, I want to have any easier life. I accepted Christ and try to follow Him, why should I have to persevere? I would have an easier time being a good Christian if only I didn’t have to struggle so much.
James: I understand that you feel that way, what you don’t understand is that you can’t know the depth of your character unless it has been tried and tested. Every time you face a trial with confidence and a positive attitude, it becomes easier for you to be good to your neighbor. Facing your personal hardships and working through them makes you a better servant and a more productive follower of Jesus. Pay attention when adversity comes, ask yourself what you can learn from it and I promise you will become a better person for it, and a stronger follower.
Me: I feel like I am so far from there. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be that guy. I just don’t know if I have what it takes to get there.
James: That’s why I say to persevere. Keep at it, don’t give up. If you fail in one instance, determine to do better the next time. If you are faithful in that perseverance you will mature to the point where it will be second nature. Remember, God didn’t promise you a painless Christian life, He told you there would be adversity. Just determine to be that guy my friend and you will become all that He wants you to be. Then you will be able to teach others these principles so that they too will become mature and complete.
Me: So He will help me solve my problems or help me to endure them? He won’t leave me alone, He’ll stay close right?
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV)