Keep Holding On

Dan Lovaglia, Camp Pastor, Camp Paradise | January 30, 2024

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.
James 1:2-4

Scroll through today’s news headlines or your friends’ updates on Facebook or Instagram. People everywhere are facing many kinds of trials. It’s an unavoidable part of life. My guess is that you are in the middle of some sort of testing as well. It could be related to a challenge at work or school. Maybe you or someone close is battling an unfortunate health situation. Or perhaps your faith in God feels under fire. Whatever testing is taking place, and whether it’s one big trial or lots of little ones, my encouragement to you is the same as James: Keep holding on.

James’ letter was written to believers living in all kinds of conditions in various nations (v. 1). Some were facing poverty, violence, and displacement from their homes. Others were in political and religious crosshairs. What’s surprising is that James doesn’t lay out a complicated checklist of ways to endure hard stuff. He gives them one essential posture of heart to live by that’s rooted in what they already know about perseverance and testing (v. 3).

Personally, I’d rather receive a remedy to make the trials and testing go away. But I’ve never seen maturity and character grow without practicing patience under pressure. Have you? Spouses and parents need to keep holding on. Employees and students need to keep holding on. The hurting and brokenhearted need to keep holding on. And followers of Jesus, in all walks of life, need to keep holding on just like He did (Hebrews 12:1-3).

Trials and testing don’t transform people, it’s the way we partner with perseverance that changes us to be more like Christ. This is why James simply says, “Let perseverance finish its work…” (v. 4). The Greek word echetō means “let,” but more than “allow or permit” it really means “to have and hold.” In other words, James is telling us to keep holding on to the perfect end God has on our horizon. You and I may struggle to see what’s ultimately in store for us, but we can trust that we will mature in faith if we choose a posture of heart that perseveres today. Keep holding on, my friends.

Next Steps

In addition to endurance, you need empathy from God and others to persevere. Read Hebrews 12:1-3 and write down how fixing your eyes on Christ helps you face trials. Then, call or text someone to ask for their support to keep holding on today.