Saturday, March 24, 2012
The sweet taste of anticipation. Can you feel it? Come on, we're waiting for more. Bring it on. Oh JOY, more trials!
A few months ago Greg Ralston preached on the first chapter in James. My take-away was the word perseverance. How do we get it and why do we want it?
James 1:2 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds." Often I can see the benefit after a trial is over. Lessons drawn from the dark memory in the review mirror. But joy before the trial, or seeing one coming right at you? That's a different story. And being smack dab in the middle of a tragedy? No, it's not so easy.
For us to have joy during a trial there must be a payoff. What is the reason for us to jump up and down with excitement when the ground shakes at a coming fear. Going on in James to verse three it says, "because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."
Perseverance is grabbing on like the roots of the tree with a storm blasting through its branches. It says keep going though your lungs are about to burst. Step forward and love the outcasts, even if no one else does. Hang on to life, though death is an easy matter of giving up. Risk losing life for others, even if saving it takes doing nothing.
But how does having perseverance help us? James 1:4 tells us, "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Mature, like knowing God is trustworthy and we're not panicking like a small child. Complete, as in complete confidence in God. Not lacking in anything, not courage, faith, or wisdom the next time the trials come chasing us.