James starts off without a hitch. He encourages the Jewish-Christian communities to have a positive outlook on life. He reminds them that through the troubles of life they encounter, they have an opportunity to increase their faith in God, enabling them to endure and withstand anything that comes their way.
So how can we use difficult situations as an opportunity to grow and build faith-endurance?
Let’s look at what it means to have endurance. Endurance comes from the Latin word ‘in-durus’ which means harden. Similar words include withstand, bear, weather, experience, established and my personal favourite, long-lasting. In terms of our faith, the aim of the game is to have a faith that is so strong it can withstand anything, good and the bad.
Practically though, what can we do?
- Hit the Scriptures: Get specific. If you’re dealing with fear, look up scriptures and study what the Bible says about fear, if you’re dealing with disagreements with friends, look up what the Bible says about friendships and righteous anger. You may start to notice that you’ll build up a bank of go-to scriptures so that when the going gets tough, it gets a little easier to battle through your circumstances.(If you need some tips on how to delve deeper into the Scriptures read this post!)
- Use these scriptures as a prayer point: Even when you don’t have the words, I find it easier to link my prayers to the scriptures I have just read concerning my situation, which is why it can be important to link what you are reading to your specific battle.
- Affirm, Affirm, Affirm! Affirm positive things over yourself about who you are and who God says you are- this is an excellent way to tap into what James spoke about in practising joy when troubles come our way. (Need some help with affirmations? Check out this post!)
- Keep in constant communication with God: As much as it can be hard, resist the desire to run away or recoil away from God. He understands you through and through. You can’t do it alone, which leads me to my last point…
- Spirit Friends: Surround yourself with people that you trust and know will support you on your worst days. If you don’t think you have anyone to support you, pray for wisdom in who you could reach out to, and make a plan to get in touch. If you have big questions or just some things you’ve been wondering about for a while, remember that GGF does an Instagram live once a month where we try and answer as many of your questions as we can.
There’s an extra bit of this scripture that we want to look in to, so make sure you check out Part 2 all about what to do when you doubt.