God is not out to destroy us but to develop us and display Himself to us and through us!
Count it all joy my brethren, Knowing that the testing of your faith produces ENDURANCE…- James 1:2-3
In my former professional soccer days, I remember at one club preseason training and the amount of road work we did once a week at a national park. This was followed on different days of weight training, sprints, long distance runs. Some mornings I literally rolled out of bed onto the floor and tried to take stock of where I hurt and slowly got to my knees and to my feet and back again for more “punishment” so it seemed. I remember after 6 weeks of this in our first game I came on and was marking an older pro whom I had watched as a young boy play. At one break in the game he asked if we could just take it easy and play out the game. At that moment I knew I had him, he could not keep up with me. What I thought was 6 weeks of punishment and believe me pain was involved, but the trainers knew what they were doing they were building me up and giving me the training that would help me endure a game at high fitness level. Endurance!
God works endurance in us and one way He uses is trials to train us and put endurance into us to continue steadfastly in difficult places. The ability to keep going and doing what is right. God says that we need it. God gives it to us. So in your trials Know God is working endurance in you for your good, the benefit of others and His glory!
I know- now, You know- we know because God wants us to Know, He has given His Word, preserved it, exposed you to it so you would KNOW!!
If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem be against us, we do not believe Him at all. – Charles Spurgeon
The Joy is not because of difficult or painful circumstances – who in their right mind would want those or consider those in themselves as reasons to rejoice. But the second command – “Knowing” or more literally, “BECAUSE YOU KNOW”- It has to do with “AN UNDERSTANDING MIND.” – It speaks of an experiential knowledge.
In the trials there is present assurance and future hope – God is SOVEREIGN – He is in Control; He sits as King above them and over them. God has a definite purpose- to produce endurance and spiritual maturity and to give us a reward for obedient faith and our opportunity to express love to Him by obeying “the 4 Commands for every trial”– namely-“Count it all joy,” Because we know” “Let”- has to do with a submissive will- and “Ask”- for wisdom, as revealed in James 1:2-5
There is JOY because WE KNOW our trials and troubles are under God’s loving care and control and they have purpose. Our Joy is not based on “happy” or “unhappy” circumstances, but on the blessed assurance,”Because we know…” our trials have a Heavenly purpose with a heavenly reward at the end.
“KNOWING”- has to do with an UNDERSTANDING MIND and the word speaks of personal experience. It is a COMMAND and means “BECAUSE YOU KNOW…”
MEN AT WORK – Have you ever been traveling down a road and seen such a sign- you know from the sign and personal experience up ahead there are “men at work”- on the road to improve it and there may be delays, detours, but they will not hinder you from getting where you want and ultimately their work will improve the road.
GOD AT WORK – Trials are “God at work” to produce Godly character in you-“.. we rejoice in our sufferings, KNOWING that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Rom 5:3-5. You may see Trials as delays or detours or hindrances from where “you” want to get and arrive at, “But God…” His destination is your spiritual development and His Glory in and through them! Sometimes our trials and troubles reveal to us- that our goal and end, may be different than God has in view as often revealed by frustrations, anger, anxiety. These are all responses that focuses on self rather than God and His purpose in trials. They are immature, maybe ignorant of His ways responses or indeed sinful. But as we come to His Word they are now no longer acceptable or an alternative “because we know” better, don’t we!
THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH
The word “TESTING”– speaks of “APPROVAL” or “THE GENUINENESS,” “AUTHENTIC” of something. It is the real deal, we might say today. It was used of a man who panning for gold believed he had something of value but needed it confirmed. He would take it to an Assayer who upon careful inspection would confirm it was “authentic, real, genuine!” Trials, and the correct and proper response affirms , confirms that the faith is genuine saving faith and as a result when put under the pressures of life it is seen to be REAL- AUTHENTIC- GENUINE faith. Trials show this!
“Producing”- trials bring something into being namely “ENDURANCE” which comes form two Greek words, which comes FROM TWO words-hupomone from hupo = under + meno = stay, remain, abide) is literally “abiding under.”
It portrays a picture of steadfastly and unflinchingly bearing up under a heavy load and describes that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. It presents the picture of being under a heavy load and resolutely staying there instead of trying to escape. “Hupomone,” has in it a forward look, the ability to focus on what is beyond the current pressures. And thus as Hiebert says “triumphant faith finds power to persevere by looking steadfastly on Jesus, the leader and completer of faith, who, in view of the joy lying before him, endured (verb hupomeno) [the] cross” ( Heb 12:2 – Darby).
“ENDURANCE” IS DERIVED FROM THE THE LATIN VERB-“INDURARE” WHICH means “TO MAKE HARD”- “Endurance”, IS THE CAPACITY, THE ABILITY TO BE HARD OR STRONG in the face of suffering, pressures, afflictions, pain, to bear up in sorrow and to continue to be steadfast in the face of difficulties, obstacles to continue to choose to respond in obedience and faith to God… TO BE UNMOVABLE in the faith! Scripture says this is one of the fruit’ of saving faith- those who Persevere, ENDURE to the end shall be saved- Matt 10:22. Continuing in the Word- John 8:31.
is produced through Obedience and faith to God’s Word. Like an athlete has a preseason to get them in the best shape possible for the season they are about to undertake so in the spiritual realm trials are “God’s Gymnasium” to develop spiritual muscles- steadfastness to continue on in righteousness, Godly choices. At times the word Endurance is translated “Perseverance”- which means “the steadfast continuing…” for example in John 8:31- continuing in the Word. Continuing in faith and Holiness- John 10:28; Phil 1:5; 1 Peetr 1:5
I am sure you have seen the TV add for the “energizer bunny” that “keeps going and going and going,” A great ad. Well God desires to enable us, empower us to continue on and not to give up in life, but it is not merely “gritting your teeth” but to do so triumphantly!!In Hebrews 10 the writer tells them they have need of endurance…Hebrews 12 he tells them to run with endurance. And how is endurance developed? Through our trials. Just as a gymnasium’s purpose when used, is to develop muscle and strength, so God uses trials of all shapes and sizes to develop our perseverance that we too may keep going and going and going…The Genuineness of your faith through trials is STRENGTHENED. God uses trials to build the “muscles” of your faith.
Trials?…There is JOY in KNOWING… and Gratitude to God for saving us, enabling us to know His Ways’ His Word in our trials and there is- THE JOY IN KNOWING… and the ABILITY TO ENDURE…thanks to Him!
- REVIEW James 1 :2 and Memorize James 1;3. Be able to explain to someone the meaning of the verses and what are TWO COMMANDS from the 4 for Every trial!
- PRAY to not see trials as anything other than Opportunities to Practice rejoicing and “Because you Know…” what is happening- God is developing you with endurance to mature you.
- SHARE these verse with someone this week. You could begin the conversation with,”You know what I have been learning about trials from God’s perspective…”