based on the LGG Study, Enduring Hope / w5d1
Today’s Scripture: James 1:2-8, 12 / SOAP: 1:2-4
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.James 1:2-4
My mom, who is in a rehab facility, wants to come home so much. Sadly, she has to stay so she can get daily therapy in order to become strong enough to stand and walk on her own when we aren’t with her. We’ve been having a lot of conversations about this lately, so while I was reading today’s passage, I was reminded that this same principle applies to our spiritual lives. You see, we can work out every day to build up our physical strength and endurance, but if we don’t use the muscles we’ve worked out we will never progress. The same is true spiritually. If we are not spending daily time in God’s Word and putting into practice what we read, we will become spiritually weak and unable to “endure” when troubles come our way. However, when the trials come and we continue to follow Jesus’ way – our roots grow deeper in Jesus’ strength and godly character, and we become more sure-footed with every trial. When our roots are planted deep in Him and our way of thinking is ‘trained’ or focused on Him – we will stand firm in our faith and live a life that truly reflects Him and deters the enemy.
Trials not only reveal the genuineness of our faith, they strengthen our faith.
We can learn much from James’ opening remarks here, in verse two. We are encouraged to consider our trials or troubles nothing but joy. This type of consideration will require us to retrain our thinking, our outlook, and perspective. Paul made similar statements through out his writings and included the “how-to” instructions. One of my favorites is Philippians 4:6-8, where we read:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:6-8
With a diet, when the end of the day comes you either feel good/stronger if you stayed on track, or weak and frustrated, if you didn’t. It seems, as I read James 1:12, that in essence James is saying something similar; like, ‘when the “end of the day comes” we will rejoice if we have done well – reaping the benefits of His promises; and borrowing from Matthew 25:21, perhaps the blessing of hearing God say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”
Prayer, in response to God’s Word
Father, thank You for Your Word and Your Spirit who not only teaches us from it but reminds us of all that Christ said. Thank You for the strength that this builds in us and the power it has to enable us to stand firm in the troubles that come our way. Thank You for the reminder that our trials are meant to make us stronger. Help us to endure each trial with patience and the intention of glorifying You by keeping our eyes on the goal of being perfect and complete, not lacking in anything. – In Jesus’ Name, amen
From the Word to Worship, through song
Through it all – I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus – I’ve learned to trust in God! Through it all – I’ve learned to depend upon Hs Word …