James 1:2-4 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Stumbling in the kitchen, way too early to be awake, trying to feed our frenzied pets, a thought occurred to me. Yes, my mind works in mysterious ways. Last month, our refrigerator was acting up so we contacted a repairman to fix the leak. Since he was already here, I asked him to please fix the water dispenser as well. He was able to replace all the hoses and stop the leak but the dispenser was not working because the line was frozen solid. The only way to restore the flow was to defrost the fridge. Everyone knows what a hassle that is so thanking him kindly for his suggestion, my crew continued to get water from the tap. Well, it occurred to me standing there waiting for my furry kids to eat that maybe the water works. After all, our power was gone for three days and the refrigerator was completely defrosted unintentionally. Grabbing a glass, I tested the dispenser and sure enough water came streaming out. Now this may not seem impressive to you, but I marvel in my experience that God is always working His Goodness in our life.
Consider it an opportunity for great joy when trouble comes. Raise your hand if that’s you! The one who jumps up and down shouting with glee when bad things happen, interruptions occur or the storms of life hit. Nah, me either. I usually must fight to keep my composure, bite my tongue not to complain, and pray a lot…a whole lot for the Holy Spirit to keep my attitude in check. The hurricane that knocked out our power, destroyed the yard, and killed the Internet is no different. Completely disrupting our schedule, annihilating our routine, and jacking with my order, I just wasn’t feeling too exiting about my growth process at the time. Why this? Why now? What an inconvenience! Lord, I am uncomfortable. God was testing the water lines in my life. Checking for anything blocking my faith or tempting my heart so that He could remove it and allow me to overflow in the abundance of joy that faith allows when we trust the Lord completely.
Faith must be tested to allow our endurance to grow. We are created not just to survive but to thrive in this life as we make our pilgrimage home to be with the Lord. This life of faith is not for wimps. It is for the willing who will endure the tests, trials and temptations to be with the Lord. We must have full blown endurance to make it through this life. We cannot quit or give up. It may be hard and seem impossible but those who will put in the effort to continually grow through trials and seek His Goodness in life will prosper from the inside out.
Endurance is the ability or strength to continue especially despite fatigue, pain, hardships or other adverse conditions. It is a call for patience and self-control which are the less desirable but totally necessary fruit of God’s Spirit within us. The Lord has more for us than we are willing to wait for. We would rather compromise and settle for substitutions in life instead of waiting it out and having His Very Best. It is human nature to avoid discomfort of any and all kinds. To avoid inconvenience as if it were some kind of plague. Jesus wants to produce faith in us that endures until His Promise is received.
I Peter 1:6-7 (NLT) So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and perfects gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
It is unfortunate that most of the time, the only way to discover how precious our faith really is means removing all the other things of lesser value. We do not seek it’s worth or invest in acquiring more because quite frankly to most it is a last ditch effort at survival. To be completely honest, faith is reserved when all our human strength is gone. Our flesh refuses to trust God until it is a matter of life or death. The moment that faith in God becomes our only option is the point in time that we are fully invested and all in the effort to know Him more. Faith gives us access to the Kingdom of God, its outcomes, promises and supernatural power right here and right now. But who has time for this anyway? Our refrigerator just needed a little time to thaw out to work properly again. I was not willing to go through the painstaking and difficult process of defrosting it completely to allow the water to flow through it freely. God did it for me. In the midst of the storm, He was still working out good things for me just as He promised.
James 1:12-15 (NLT) God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,” and He never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
God never tempts us. The enemy cannot “make” us do anything that we do not want to do. Who does that leave? ME! I am my own worst enemy when it comes to temptation. It is my desires that lead my away from faith and trust in the Lord. It is my want for something other than His Absolute Best and to be exactly where He is by faith that keeps me from enduring tests and trials. I choose to relent and take an easier route. It’s true.
With this in mind, you and I will face temptation today. The temptation to take the easy way out. To compromise. To give in just a little. To complain. To react rather than respond. Our flesh will never willingly give way to the Spirit. We fight the battle of temptation every single day. It is always going to be easier to throw in the towel than to pick it back up. God blesses those who endure. God requires patience to strengthen our faith. We will have long wait times. We will be stretched to the end of our natural ability and strength. If we want eternal life, it will be worth the investment. The Lord promises to never to tempt us beyond our endurance. (I Corinthians 10:13) In every situation, we have the opportunity to overcome.
I Peter 1:8-9 (NLT) You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him, and rejoice in inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.
The inexpressible joy that comes from faith cannot be experienced except by those who endure. It is not something attainable outwardly but inwardly. Just as the water line had to be thawed so the water could flow out of the dispenser, the Lord uses trials, temptations and hardships to clear the way for His Blessings, Promises and Inexpressible Joy to overflow in my life. I cannot make it happen any other way but by faith. Faith must endure every obstacle presented. We must trust the Lord with our life and everything in it enough to wait out the process, fight for our faith and stand until He comes. The reward will be our salvation.
Matthew 24:12-13 (NLT) Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
This is a test. It is only a test. One day this will not be the case. According to Matthew 24, this day is swiftly approaching. False prophets. Check. Wars. Check. Rumors of war. Check. Nation against nation. Check. Earthquakes and natural disasters. Check. Sin rampant. CHECK. Love grown cold. CHECK. We are in the end times. Jesus is coming. Why is He coming? He is coming to save those who endure to the end. He is coming for the Bride who remains faithful to the end. We have married off one bride in our family. At no point in her engagement did she ever say, I am tired of the stress of preparation or I don’t want to wait anymore. She looked forward to the day she would meet her handsome groom to say, “I do!” I want to do life with you. I want to be with you. I love you! Jesus is the Bridegroom and we are His Bride. He is worth waiting for. He is worthy of our faithfulness and endurance to the end. The Lord is our inexpressible joy.
Lord, help me to remember this is only a test. Teach me the way of patient endurance in all things so that I may be the radiant bride you are coming for. Give me faith, Lord. Test my faith for validity and genuineness. I long to be faithful to the end. Help to do so. Show me success. You are my one desire. I want you Lord. Let you living water flow through me today unstopping every stubborn hard spot that you find! In the Name of Jesus I ask these things! Amen and amen!
Psalm 118:24-25 (NLT) This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success.