Thursday, September 30, 2010

Growing Perseverance

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3

We all want perseverance, but none of us want trials and testing of our faith. What James is giving us here is the second part of the reason behind why we can remain joyful during trials. One of the results of walking through trials while holding the hand of God is perseverance.
Some synonyms to perseverance are: firmness, insistency, resolve and determination. When we are standing on the right foundation, these qualities are of great benefit. When we become firm in our faith, refusing to move in what we know is the Truth, we become a vessel for the Word of God. When we are insistent in our obedience to that Word, we live a life that shows others the love of God. When we resolve not to give up when our flesh feels like it, we learn the peace of living in obedience to God.

What does it mean to test our faith? It could mean facing difficulties that we don’t understand. It could mean not getting the answer we want. It could mean watching someone we love suffer.

The Bible says that God does not tempt us, but that He does bring and allow trials in our lives. Job is the most famous example of God allowing trials to let him stand as an example of perseverance to faith. Job questioned God and put of with discouraging friends and family, but he never lost faith.

Most likely, none of us will go through the losses and illness that Job did, and if we had our druthers we’d choose an easy, worry-free life. However, we live in a sinful world and self-pleasing flesh. We are going to face difficult times. It’s a given. We are going to be tested in our faith. Those difficulties and tests will either crush us (when we attempt to stand on our own) or they will allow us to learn to be joyful in all circumstances and develop perseverance (when we rely on, trust in, and lean on God.)

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