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Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Greater Design

“You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4, NIV).

Trials serve a purpose. They actually serve a greater design. Trials teach an important character trait‒perseverance. You can have commitment in your life, but commitment means nothing without the ability to stand strong no matter what comes against you. Perseverance does a work in your life. Persevering during trial shapes and molds you until you become more like Christ. You must not fight against the trial. You cannot change it anyway. Let it build this character trait in your life. When perseverance has finished its work, hopefully you will be spiritually mature, and able to stand against whatever life throws at you.

When have you grown the most? Certainly not during times that are easy and demand nothing of you. You grow when your faith is tested during times of hardship. These times of hardship are times that discipline you and produce a peace that only comes as a result of perseverance. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11, NIV).

Joseph was one who was trained by trial and hardship. Sold into slavery by his brothers, he faced desertion by his family and loss of freedom to live his own life. When his master's devious wife attempted to seduce him, his faith was tested and ultimately strengthened when he refused her advances, and endured her lies. Persevering in prison, his faith still grew stronger. God was with him shaping and molding his character. Joseph was ultimately rescued from his life of slavery and prison, and given the position of second in command in Egypt. When handed the opportunity to take action against his brothers for selling him into slavery, he had no revenge in his heart. He had learned God's lesson of forgiveness and greater purpose through all he had endured. “You intended to harm me,” he told his brothers, “but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20, NIV). Joseph saw a greater purpose in his trial, and realized that God had placed him in his position to provide sustenance for his own people at this time in their history.

Do you persevere and allow the trials of life to mold your character? Molding of your character produces hope. “We also rejoice in our sufferings,” Paul wrote, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3–4, NIV).  “The more you go on in this way,” Peter wrote, “the more you will grow strong spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8. TLB). Allow the trials of life to shape and teach you the ability to persevere and build your character. You will grow spiritually and mature, and not lack in your ability to stand whatever comes your way.

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