James 1:2-4 NIV
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because 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.”
Suffering, especially when it first comes upon us, is not usually joyful. It hurts. And it may hurt a lot. Paul once described the suffering of himself and of his fellow workers this way:
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Co 1:8-9 NIV
And we read in Hebrews 12 about how God disciplines us for our good in order that we may share in his holiness (Heb 12:1-11). It says in v. 11:
“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.”
So, when we go through trials and tribulations, they most likely are going to be painful, and they may involve a time of grief and sorrow, but they serve a good purpose in us.
God is making us holy, and he is conforming us to his likeness, and to his righteousness. He is teaching us to rely on him and not on ourselves. And he is developing within us perseverance so that we may become mature and complete in him. And for that we can be joyful.
James 1:12 NIV
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Many of us have been going through a time of testing this past year. Our faith in our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ has been put to the test. For some of us, the trials have been minimal, while others have undergone much more severe testing. But whether big or small, a trial is still a trial. And it tests our faith.
Many of us have come to realize that there is a diabolical plot at work here to overtake us as the people of nations on the earth and as Christians who are walking in obedience to our Lord and in daily fellowship with him. We understand that prophecy of Scripture is being fulfilled before our eyes.
We have watched as news stories have unfolded and then as other news stories appear to debunk the original stories and to show how what we thought was real is really fake. And this appears to be a continual theme of giving out news stories only to have others prove (or attempt to prove) that the official narrative is not accurate or that it is a planned falsehood.
And so, the people are tossed back and forth between what they think is truth only to have that “truth” be brought into question, and then to have to wonder if there is anything that is “real” anymore, for so much can be and is being faked. But the Bible said this would take place, so this should not surprise us that this is where we are (See Rev 2-3; Rev 12-18).
There are still many people, though, who believe everything they see, read, or hear if it comes from a particular person, or a precise political party, or a specific news source, or from a certain church denomination or pastor, etc. And they buy into the narrative that anything that contradicts the official narrative is false (fake news, conspiracy theories), and thus not to be trusted.
But for believers in Jesus, we are not to put our trust in human beings. We should especially not give our undying loyalty and devotion and trust to any human being, no matter who he/she is. It doesn’t matter what their platform is, or who they say they are, or what they say they have done for us. Humans are not to have our absolute trust and loyalty.
Why do you think that Scripture teaches us so much to be wise, discerning, mature, sensible and to not put our trust in humans, and that we are to test every spirit to see if it is of God? And we are to test those who call themselves prophets, evangelists, preachers, or leaders in the government, too? It is because humans will lie to us and deceive us.
So, don’t take everything you read, hear, or think you see at face value. Don’t assume it is real just because it looks real. Anything can be faked. Hollywood does it all the time. Anything can be made to look real. Anything can be staged. And it can be made to look as though it is happening one place where it might be somewhere else altogether.
I am not saying that everything is a lie, but that we live in a time of great deception so we should not take anything at face value and assume it is real just because it looks real. We need to step back from these seemingly crisis situations, some of which may be real or partially real, and we need to pray and ask the Lord to help us to discern reality from fantasy.
I believe more trials are on the way, and that fakery may be used to produce these trials. On our end, the trials will be real, because we will reap the results of them. Even if the circumstances leading up to our trials are faked, they can use their fake scenarios to put all kinds of burdens and restrictions on our lives. They do it all the time, I believe.
So, part of standing the test of our trials is also praying and asking the Lord for discernment and wisdom to understand what is really going on. And then ask him how we are to respond to our difficult circumstances. And then we need to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in doing what our Lord says.
I believe, too, that the Lord is allowing these trials in our lives because many Christians have wandered off from their pure devotion to the Lord to follow man and the flesh, and because there are so many false professions of faith in Jesus Christ and thus so many “Christians” who are living no differently than those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
And so, he is disciplining his church for their good to bring them back to him and to make them holy and to continue to make holy those who are already walking in faithfulness to him before he returns. He is making his bride ready for her wedding to her husband when our salvation will be complete.
So, while we still have the breath of life and time on this earth, we need to be making the most of it for the glory of God. We need to be loving one another with his love, and we need to be discerning of all evil so that we can reject the evil and cling only to the good. And, instead of Christians fighting among themselves, we all need to unite with the mind of Christ and live in harmony with one another, for the days are short.
An Original Work / September 2, 2012
Based off Ro. 12:9-21; 1 Pet. 3:8-17
Love each other truly.
Cling to what is good.
Hate all that is evil.
Never lack in zeal.
Serve the Lord with fervor.
Joyful in hope be;
Patient in affliction;
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.
Share with all God’s people
Who are found in need.
Do not be conceited.
Love, and show compassion
Keep your tongue from evil.
Peaceful you must be.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.
God sees who are righteous;
Listens to their prayers.
But He’s against evil –
Is His to avenge.
Do not fear what they fear.
In your hearts, make Christ Lord.
Serve Him faithfully.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.