Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Joy x Trials + Testing = Steadfastness

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4 ESV)

This math may be simple, but the continuing effects of sin cause us to have a world-view rather hopeless, pointless. James indicates that, with each trial a Believer faces, we should "count it all joy". This message given to the early church, already begun spreading into the world, is the same for us today.

The question is not trials test our faith. Life proves that to be true. Rather, "as" your faith is tested, James says, we can count each, and all, as joy. Why? Why aren't trials merely an end in themselves? Is there a purpose in suffering? Each test produces "steadfastness" and endurance. The writer of Hebrews made the same charge. Upon giving an historic tour through "The Hall of Faith", in Hebrews chapter 11, Christians were charged..... "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1, 2 ESV)

What is a present trial you face? Will you trust God's provision (present & future) and His guidance, jointly, through His communicated word and through the leading of His indwelling Holy Spirit? If you "will" trust God in your trials you can be assured of more to come ...because He "does have a purpose, and a plan, for you; plans for hope and a future. But you may also be assured of a growing contentment, and strengthened commitment, in how His all-knowing, all-powerful hand will guide you. Each of your struggles can become minor opportunities to bring major glory to a faithful, loving, just, and merciful Lord. These same struggles will bring joy, and fulfillment to an, otherwise, empty life.

Steve Terrell
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