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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Completed by Perseverance

“Consider it pure joy 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, NIV).

Do we realize that the testing of our faith develops perseverance....that if we allow perseverance to work in our life we will be complete in our faith and not lack anything in hard times? This is a riveting image. There is a work going on inside each believer, and it can only be completed through commitment and determination and perseverance. Spiritual growth discovered through perseverance has the power to create a joy that nothing can shake. When we have fought to learn His lesson and we have won, there is no joy like the joy of victory.

The Lord’s perfect will is for faith to spring up in the midst of suffering. It is our decision whether the lesson is learned. Trials and suffering should inspire spiritual growth. “These have come,” Peters imparts, “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 testing of our faith during hardship is meant to create the ability to persevere. It is our decision whether we allow His refining fire to purify and strengthen our life.

“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face,” Paul writes. “All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG). God knows our limit and will never give us more than we can handle. His grace is more than sufficient, and He will provide the strength to stand. Satan attempts to bring out our worst in the storm, but God always seeks to bring out our best. We can either be adrift in fear, or we can allow God to anchor us in faith. 

“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). The purpose of hardship in life is to create 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 faith and spiritual maturity. Faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). We press on through the hardship of life in order to believe in that we can’t touch or see. 

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in (or wait upon in 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 40:28-31, NIV). In these verses God is shown as one whose wisdom is greater than 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. The Creator imparts to us His strength to stand, be strong, and wait upon Him. We can soar above the trials of life. We can run and not be weary. All that we must do is allow perseverance to complete its work so that we will be completely mature. With His power alive in us because we have endured, we will not lack anything (James 1:4).

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