Saturday, August 06, 2011

Persevere

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything
~~~
What a counter-intuitive thing to do... Taking JOY in the bad things that happen.  But James tells us that we should.  Let's break it down.


First of all, pure means "free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind."  This means that our joy shouldn't be tainted by worry, fear, anger, frustration, or uncertainty.  It's pure.  It's complete.  


Also, James says we will face trials of many kinds.  We aren't promised that things will be easy in the Christian life; actually, quite the opposite.  We're promised that life won't be a bed of roses!  Things WILL go wrong; they WILL be tough.  And our faith WILL be tested.  


WHY?


Why would God allow bad things to happen to His children, whom He loves?  


Look at the next part.  The testing of our faith creates perseverance.  Perseverance is "resolute and unyielding holding on in following a course of action."  Unyielding.  Never giving up or giving in.  No matter what.  So when our faith is tested, and we rely on God to keep us strong, we gain the ability to endure!


And finally, this makes us mature and complete in the faith, NOT LACKING ANYTHING.  Does that mean we will have everything we want?  No!  It means God can make us into the people He desires us to be.  Wholly devoted to Him only.  To be anything less is to be incomplete and greatly lacking life.  And God knows this and wants complete and abundant life for His followers.


So, when tough times comes, we are called to thank God for what He's about to do in our hearts and lives, and we are to rely completely on Him for whatever we will need to endure...to persevere.


And remember, "The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he WILL NOT FALL, for the Lord upholds him with His hand." (Psalm 37:23-24)

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