James 1:4 “And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
It is part of the human nature to rush through things. Whether it is a good meal, our homework, or even a life experience, we are conditioned to hurry up, get it done, and move on to the next thing. But there is so much we miss when this is our mode of operation. Some things just have to be done slowly.
I found this out when I started to do some light weightlifting. I heard that women my age should spend some time strengthening their muscles in order to keep the body working properly and to ward off diseases like osteoporosis, so I searched through the closet and found my hand weights. Since this is not my favorite activity, I figured I would just get it done quickly every day. I found a book of exercises and proceeded to pump my way through them as fast as I could – let’s face it, it is easier to lift the weights when you have some momentum behind you.
Then Dad explained to me the proper procedure. If you want to see the best results, it is important not to rush. After warming up, move the weights in an unhurried and controlled fashion. Work the target muscles using a full range of motion when exercising. Breathe deeply and rest between repetitions. This is not the easy way, but it’s the best way to get more out of your workout program and grow stronger. Consistency and endurance produce results.
In a similar way we mature spiritually as we work our way through various trials. It is tempting to find an easy out when difficulties come our way. Often our first thought is, “How can I escape this problem, and fast?” It can be tempting to take any shortcut we can find even if it means compromising in areas where we shouldn’t. We may tend to rely on our natural pattern of handling things instead of seeking God’s wisdom and persevering through the situation by faith.
Though we should not go looking for trials, James tells us that when they do come we should consider it pure joy. This doesn’t mean that the experience is fun, but we can be encouraged by knowing that through the crisis our faith will be strengthened. Sometimes our heartaches and sadness can last a long time. Often our prayers are not answered immediately, but the man or woman who endures and waits patiently for God to act will never be disappointed. This person will be stronger in faith when the next set of trials appear.
So guess what? I have started slowing down my weightlifting reps. It is not as easy this way, but I know if I persevere my muscles and bones will thank me. Who knows – as my endurance grows stronger, whether through trials or heavier weights I might even find joy in the process – especially as I experience the good results.