Today was going to be a non-post day – – – but then I realized it’s Friday. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t wake you up with a happygram for your Friday. Right? So . . .
OK! Everybody up! Rise and shine!
I’ve been thinking a lot about James. You know James. The one who said “consider it all joy” when we feel like we weren’t called to consider it all joy, we were instead dragged through it kicking and screaming. But James insists, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” After I consider for a while, I think, Are you kidding me? Really? This isn’t really my first choice.
Have you been there? Are you there now? It can be hard to keep our faith alive while we get through the rough times. But James assures us that there are benefits if we stay firm and not let our faith get weak.
a) the testing of your faith produces perseverance
b) perseverance produces maturity
c) maturity makes you complete and not lacking anything
Then as a bonus, James says – if you lack wisdom, ask God and he will generously give it to you.
There’s a pattern here. Do you see it? In our humanness we wonder, why does it have to be so hard? If it were up to us, wouldn’t we choose easy – a lot easier? But God has a different plan. In Isaiah 55:9 He says, “My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God has the ultimate benefit package for perseverance and it covers more than what James promised. Let’s look at 2 Peter 1:5-7 “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
That, my friends, is the whole package. Drive a stake in the sand and say – I am going to build my faith right here on this spot and I’m believing God for rewarding my perseverance. “the one who calls you is faithful and will do it” 1Thessalonians 5:24
Lord, it’s hard to thank you for the thorns, but I know they are there for my benefit, even if I don’t see it. Thank you for promising to grow me up to maturity in my faith and for adding goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, mutual affection with others, and love. I want all those things to be evident in my life. I need the wisdom you promised to give me if I ask. I’m asking. And God? Give me a heart like yours. Make me godly. If I have to be broken, empty me out and fill me up with all that pleases you. Help me to remember that you are the power source and you hold the keys to everything I could ever need. Help me see my moments through your eyes and be filled with joy knowing that each one is a gift.
Ready to practice perseverance? Our mission field waits …. Let’s get out there!