Sunday, April 24, 2011

James 1:2-3

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."

How do you respond to adversity?  When our faith rests not on the wisdom of men but on the power of God (1 Cor. 2::5) we possess an eternal perspective on our lives, enabling us to view all circumstances with thanksgiving.  When we enable the world to shape our thinking we embrace the cultural norm of a changing perspective based on events and circumstances rather than the rock solid principles of Scripture.  The writer of Hebrews commands us to run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).  The Greek word for race is "agon" which means struggle or fight and it is where we get the word "agony". We don't want to stand on the sidelines while the race is being run by others, we want to run.  If this is our desire, we must embrace that which enables us to run which is the endurance we receive from the testing of our faith.  We are to be thankful because God has not only established our race but knows and has provided exactly what we need to run it.  When we engage in self-pity, anger, arrogance, or frustration when we encounter trials we relegate ourselves to the sidelines while others run the race that God designed for us.

Reflect for a moment on how your perspective on your circumstances would change if the veil that separates time from eternity were removed and you were able to see the eternal impact of your daily walk as was the case with the great believer Job.  How great a believer Job must have been for the eternal conflict between God and Satan to converge on the battlefield of this man's soul.  For a moment in time the center of the entire heavenly realm focused on Job.  Had Job known this, his perspective on his incredible struggle would have been far different than the one that he had when he pronounced that his "soul was poured out because of his plight and the days of affliction had taken hold of him" (30:16).  He then went on to say that he had become like the dust and ashes of the earth (30:19).  Job lacked the perspective that he gained when He heard God's answer to his groans: "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.  Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?" (38:2-4).  Job's response: "I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You..... Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand" (42:2-3).  Job received the perspective that he did not understand which is that God had a purpose for allowing him to suffer and that purpose had eternal ramifications. 

We do not need for God to descend and reveal His purpose for testing us as He did with Job for we have the pages of His Word which tell us that the testing of our faith produces endurance for the race that He has set before us.  We have the account of Job in its entirety for the benefit of our perspective.  We are without excuse for the improper perspective on the adversity God has placed in our life.  We are to run the race for our race has an eternal purpose of which we do not see but is real nevertheless.  When you encounter struggle in your life embrace it! Rejoice in it!  You are running the race that God has set before you.  Do not murmur as though you lack understanding.  Rejoice because your life has eternal meaning and purpose. This, along with continuous prayer for stamina and wisdom will enable you to draw nearer to God.

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