Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
I would tend to think of “testing of my faith” being perilously close to “struggling with doubt”.
However, the Spirit – who is sent to guide us into all the truth – prompts me to think of it more this way: If I have no trials, how would I know that I have faith that holds steadfast under strain? I would become spiritually flaccid without any opportunity to exercise my belief in Him. As for endurance, when one first starts to exercise, he is very limited as to what he can do. After much practice, though, staying power vastly improves. “Trials” are testing experiences that are more than we have tackled before. As our physical muscles were designed to improve with increased training, so our spiritual muscles with increasing trials.
All of 1 Peter 1 is an incredibly rich tapestry of the Life prepared for us: conceived and planned by the Father, purchased in blood by Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, stretching across history, predicted by prophets, and announced by first-century preachers; concerning grace, peace, fullness, mercy, hope, protection, salvation, eternal life, joy, praise, honor, love, glory, revelation, belief, faith, angels, and mysteries.
I am grateful for the grace that enables us to enter in to this magnificent journey with God, and to stay the course, if we are willing.
I am grateful for being a new creature! I thank you for opening the way to beholding this promise more clearly.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
As I meditated on this verse, I became mindful of all the (many) times since “accepting” Christ as Savior, that I have engaged in bad behavior. I was reminded that at no time does the Lord override my free choice. I have to recognize that “in” is not a state that is permanently imposed upon me, it is an invitation. He has done His part. Will I come in? Will I stay?
“Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; (Luke 21:34)
The price for my freedom has been paid. Choosing to stay free requires vigilance.
Though the world would otherwise be a (very) scary place, I am grateful for this promise; not just that in You, Lord, I can get by. I can actually have peace! I am grateful that the courage that I am encouraged to “take” is by faith in You and not something in me that I have to somehow live up to.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
I am grateful for this week off from work to rest my mind from the urgencies of the office, the opportunity to more clearly fix my attention on things above and to cultivate a keener perspective on the proper place of temporal pursuits.
At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:25-30]
This is a hand-held time exposure, so not the best quality photo. All those red lights on the horizon are a warning-blink from part of a new wind farm being installed between me and the next mile over. There are close to a hundred of them. I’m already missing my unadulterated view. Yesterday’s blog photo was before this blight on God’s landscape. I freely admit that I am struggling to find a good face to put on this project. If these machines pulled their own weight in the economy, I suppose I would find some solace in that. As it is, I have to reconcile myself to the fact that I am paying taxes that are going to blight in my own neck of the cornfield.
I have to return my focus on things above and remember that at the day of the Lord, this too will pass (2 Peter 3:10).