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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Persevering from Trial to Greater Faith

            Trials in life should inspire spiritual growth. Peter imparts, “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, NIV). The trying of your faith during hardship should 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).

Nothing has happened in your life that isn’t common to someone else. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. God will not test you beyond what you can bear, but will provide a way out” (I Corinthians 10:13, NKJV). Many Christians consider this passage in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as Christ’s promise to always deliver them from difficult circumstances, and then conveniently forget the next phrase, which infers God will give strength to endure. Sometimes God does deliver us from the most frightful situation. Sometimes He doesn’t. Might God be instructing us that His grace is more than sufficient, and He will provide the strength to stand? Satan attempts to bring out our worst, but God always seeks our best.

            “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Suffering creates the ability to persevere. Perseverance reveals the moral fiber in good character. Character promises hope. Hope doesn’t disappoint, but fuels our faith. We rejoice in the fact that we grow in spiritual maturity. Faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). Hope that needs to be seen says, “I kind of believe, but let me just see enough, so that I can really believe.” It is not the kind of hope that just trusts that the unseen will come. It is certainly not the hope that understands how to wait patiently.

Have you ever considered waiting as being equivalent to hoping? “But those who “hope in”(or “wait upon” in the KJV)) the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV). Here God is exemplified as one whose wisdom surpasses ours, and who is incapable of failure. He becomes not only the God of power revealed through His creation, but also the God of power given to His creation.

Our natural resources aren’t enough to generate hope, and the ability to wait hopefully. For this to happen you must exchange our strength for His. When you give the Lord your concerns with the assurance that He is in control, hope not only springs from suffering, but also produces a greater faith that waits for what the world considers impossible. Now waiting only makes you stronger. You have grown from suffering to hope, and from hope to greater faith. Perseverance has brought its reward.

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