James 1:2-4, 12 ESV
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Testing of Our Faith
Have you ever had your faith tested? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, I am certain you have. We can’t be true followers of Jesus and not go through trials which test our faith. For Satan is on a rampage and he is out to get us in any way he can. For he wants us back for himself, and he doesn’t want us following Jesus, and so he is going to attack us from many fronts to try to get us to give up and to abandon our walks of faith in Jesus.
He may attack us physically, like he did Job, or he may attack our character. Well, that happened to Job, too. Or he may have others turn against us and falsely accuse us of wrongdoing when we did no wrong. Actually, Job went through that as well. Or he may hit really close to home, and he may have family members reject us and turn against us. Job’s wife turned against him and told him to curse God and die. So, yep, Job faced all of those.
Or we may have other Christians or even pastors and elders of churches misjudge us or accuse us of wrongdoing when we did no wrong, or reject us because we have “strong convictions,” or because we are still holding on to the gospel that Jesus taught and that his New Testament apostles taught. Especially now with the cheap grace gospel being so widely accepted, those of us who are still teaching the whole counsel of God are likely to be rejected, misunderstood, and misjudged.
Some people have been kicked out of families and households because of their faith in Jesus Christ, or they have lost their jobs, or they have been put in prison, or beaten, or harassed, or tortured, and even put to death because of their beliefs in Jesus and in the gospel of our salvation. And some have been kicked out of or encouraged to leave “church” gatherings, and they were told to go someplace else where they would be a “better fit.”
For, if we are serious about walking with Jesus in holiness and righteousness, and in going wherever he sends us and doing whatever it is he has called us to do and to say, if we live in a culture where faith in Jesus lacks commitment and where “Christians” are urged to not get radical about their faith, and where they are being encouraged to “immerse” themselves in their culture so as to be able to relate to the people of the world, then we should expect that we are not going to be well received by many.
Testing Produces Steadfastness
The testing of our faith, in whatever form it comes, is for our good. It is to humble us, to teach us to rely on God and not on ourselves, and it is to make us more compassionate toward others who are going through trials, too. It is so we may share the holiness of God, and that it might yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those of us who have been trained by it. And it is to produce in us endurance, character, and hope.
So, we are to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds, because we know that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness in us, which is a stick-to-itiveness. It helps us to be more courageous and to be more determined to stay the course and to not give up. And if we remain faithful, and we don’t retreat, the trials we face will help us to mature in our walks of faith so that we will be able to encourage others to remain steadfast in their trials and to not give up.
[2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; Rom 5:3-5; Jas 1:2-4; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; Lu 21:12-19; Matt 5:10-12; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Thes 3:1-5; Jn 15:1-11]
The Crown of Life
At the end of all our trials, if we remained faithful to the Lord, and if we did not abandon the faith and go back to living for sin and for self, we have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven where Jesus is preparing a place for us to live for eternity. We have not only the hope of spending eternity with our Lord face to face, but we can look forward to the day when we are out of pain, when we are no longer suffering, and when we are no longer tempted to sin or are the object of other people’s sins against us.
One day this will all be over and it will be worth it all when we are with Jesus forever. It will be worth it all, too, knowing that our Lord used us in the lives of others to tell them about Jesus and/or to encourage them in their walks of faith and/or to warn them against what will harm them or what will send them to hell if they do not repent of their sins and follow Jesus in obedience. Our eternal rewards will be that others are there with Jesus for eternity because we obeyed our Lord. And in heaven, all the glory will go to God.
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!