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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Joy of the Purest Kind

“Consider it pure joy,” James writes, “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 complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4). Spiritual maturity is achieved through perseverance. It must be finished in order to handle life’s unexpected circumstances. What a riveting image! There is a work inside each believer, and it can only be completed through endurance! The Lord’s perfect will is for faith to spring up in the midst of hardship. It is my decision whether the lesson is learned.

            Trials and suffering should inspire spiritual growth. Peter writes, “These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (I Peter 1:7). The trying of your faith during hardship can develop the ability to persevere. Christ reveals that we are to be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect. Perseverance is meant to spur each believer on toward this goal (Matthew 5:48). 

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires" (II Peter 1:3-4). God has given His promises so that we have the strength to stand against sin, to be part of His very nature, and to grow spiritually. To escape sin’s grasp, and to be more like Him, spiritual growth is not an option. Peter explains that we must add to faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, and brotherly kindness. We can’t add these alone (II Peter 1:5-7). Only the Lord supplies the strength for this accomplishment, but we make the decision to step out in faith.

I must grow in perseverance through times of suffering, and be available for His purposes. My faith in Jesus Christ should be my most valued possession! My attitudes, thoughts, and desires should be those of an adult, and should be first to arise in difficult circumstance. Most of all, they should spur me on toward the perfection found only in Christ. What I have within must be tested to see if it has any worth. Untried, it has no value, but tried, it is refined by the fire of the Holy Spirit. “Consider it pure joy,” James writes. That I should joyfully learn perseverance from suffering? God wishes me to understand that it is a joy of the purest kind.

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