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James 1:2-17
You know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a
chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully
developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing
(James 1:3-4).

Roger Bannister was considered the favorite for the 1500m race
at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952. He planned to retire if he won
gold, but an unusual schedule at the Games affected his chances
and he came in fourth. Instead of quitting, however, his
disappointment spurred him on to continue competing. Two years
later he went on to change sporting history. On the 6th of May in
1954 at the Iffley Road track in Oxford, England, Roger Bannister
became the first man to run a mile in less than 4 minutes.

James encourages us to use our disappointments and difficulties
as an opportunity for our faith to be tested and for our endurance
to grow (James 1:3). And when patience is allowed to grow and
becomes fully developed, we become “perfect and complete” and
need “nothing” (James 1:4).

Slogging our way through difficult times with a sour demeanor and
a self-pitying attitude won’t develop the character God desires to
see in us. As we joyfully and patiently withstand times of testing
and temptation, we also experience His blessing (James 1:12).

God places little value on achievements and wealth, as they can
fail to produce humility and endurance (James 1:10-11). Instead,
He lifts up those who have been humbled by their difficult
circumstances; they will receive the crown of life that God promises
to those who love Him (James 1:9,12). Although we may despise
pain and difficulty, God can use it for our good—part of the good
and perfect things He provides to make us more like Himself
(James 1:17).

Had Roger Bannister given up following the Helsinki Games, he
would never have gone on to become the man who broke the
4-minute mile. In God, we find all we need to grow through
disappointment.  —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

(Our Daily Bread)

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