September 24, 2020
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (James 1:2-3)
When a difficult problem, a crushing weight comes into your life, is joy your first response? Do you even consider the possibility that you could rejoice in the midst of the difficulty? If this were a possibility, it could only be explained as something supernatural. Something initiated by God Himself.
Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (vs. 3)
The genuine Christian can rejoice in trials became he knows something. He knows that trails produce something that nothing else can accomplish: endurance. Spiritual endurance is not a “grit your teeth and push through” quality. It is the Divine ability to remain under a trial with peace and joy. It is faith stretched out. Faith that can go all the way to the finish line.
Since the maturing Christian has set his heart to experience God and manifest Him to a watching world, this knowledge is so liberating it can even bring joy. He has seen that the greatest good for him and others is to go through a process to conform him to the image of God’s Son. Trials spiritually faced chip away the rough, humanistic edges in this process. Christ is experienced and released. And every new trial makes him more and more godly.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him (vs. 5)
The believer under trials also knows that there is no demand made upon him that is not made upon the Spirit of God within Him. And the Spirit invites him to simply ask if he needs insight into what to do. Spiritual wisdom is knowledge applied. It’s the applied to know the right thing to do or say at the right time.
Wise men and women are priceless. They are the steadying and guiding hand in the midst of any difficulty. But wisdom is gained by experience properly faced. Trial after trial, the joyful Christian cries out to God for wisdom. This cry is never reproached by God. He gladly and fully answers. And each trial develops greater experiential wisdom in the dependent Christian. He grows to be a man who has been there and learned through each test and he becomes the most valuable mentor to those who come behind.
The Phillips translation of this verse says regarding trials, “Don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends.” Only those who have Christ could find such contentment and experience such joy. And this is why Paul could say, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
This man who knows trial’s outcomes and receives God’s wisdom has found the foyer of heaven and the Divine joy that is unquenchable.
Father, thank You for the trials throughout my life and those that lay ahead. You know what You are doing as You prepare me for glory in this life and the life to come. I welcome all that you would bring, knowing the end result. I thank You for the wisdom that You so freely give that matures me to a completed, useful man. Give me grace to follow You fully in the midst of any circumstance.
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October 28, 2020
Tozer said that "What you know about God is the most important thing about you." Right behind that knowledge, though, is what you know about yourself.
Do you know who you are? Paul did. Often in the opening lines of his letters to the churches he would give a one-sentence description that summed up his life. To the Romans, he summed it up in 17 words.
October 27, 2020
October 26, 2020