Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trials that Bring Joy!

On the way to work this morning, I heard an encouraging word from Bruce Wilkinson, author of the Prayer of Jabez.

He was speaking on James 1:2-4; verses I’m sure we’ve heard many times. Typically, when I hear the words of these verses, I think “Yeh. Yeh, God. Easier said than done.” So, here’s the verse I’m talking about and consider your reaction afterwards...

James 1:2-4 (NIV)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I heard these verses in a new light today, and I hope it encourages you. Usually I read it and my heart stops listening at the end of verse 2. I’m thinking to myself, “consider it a joy when trials come my way? Whatever, God!” But, as Bruce pointed out this morning, there is an all-important word that connects verses 2 and 3... “because”. So there is a reason why I’m to consider it pure joy when trials come my way? Yes! “BECAUSE” of verses 3 and 4! First of all, it's because the testing of my faith develops perseverance. Before I go on, let me share the definition of perseverance:

per⋅se⋅ver⋅ance –noun
1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose... in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Synonyms: doggedness, steadfastness. Perseverance, persistence, tenacity... these imply resolute and unyielding holding on in following a course of action. Perseverance commonly suggests activity maintained in spite of difficulties or steadfast and long-continued application: Endurance and perseverance combined to win in the end. Persistence implies unremitting (and sometimes annoying) perseverance. Tenacity, with the original meaning of adhesiveness, as of glue, is a dogged and determined holding on...

Isn’t that the reason our trials are so hard for us in the first place? Because we’ve lost our “perseverance, persistence, tenacity”? Our endurance is gone? We have no determination to hold on? Well, that is why I love the “because” of verse 3. Each trial we go through, God is building the core of perseverance, persistence, tenacity, and endurance in us. This is joyful news (referring to verse 2)! Why??? Because the next time we go through a fiery trial, we will be stronger than before! God is continually giving us the strength and endurance to make it through any trial, so that we will not find ourselves unprepared when the next battle comes. So, the second reason this is joyful is news is because of verse 4; we will be “lacking nothing.” (Nothing!!!!!) There is absolutely NOTHING we are lacking that won't get us through our current trial. No matter the circumstance!

We are not promised a life without difficulties, hardships, or trials. But, it brings joy to me knowing – that my faithful Father will never leave me unprepared or unequipped when it does come!

In true Shanen-style, here are a few more translations:

James 1:2-4 (The Message)
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

James 1:2-4 (Amplified Bible)
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For 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.

Much Love,

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1 comment:

Living In His Arms said...

BRAVO!!!! You should read the blog I posted on "Refiner's Fire". Even as we are going through our firey trials, God never takes His eyes off of us.

Romans 5:3-5 "But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

Because God has poured out His love into our hearts. We feel we can persevere when we know we are not alone in our trials and loved by the one bringing us out on the other side of our trials. His love gives us hope that we will not be consumed by our firey trials.

Love You Sis!