“Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.”
– James 1:2-4
When we are on the path which God has set out for us, and we’re being effective members in God’s kingdom – WE WILL engage in spiritual battle. We have to realize that our persecution and suffering is not a physical thing, but a spiritual battle! The enemy is willing to do anything that it takes to get us off of our path and make us ineffective. The world cannot handle the Holy Spirit on the inside of us. Take a look at Job: the enemy was doing whatever he could to get Job to curse God. While Job was going through his suffering, all of the people around him were telling him to turn away from God. But through his suffering and firm standing on God, Job was greatly rewarded.
Even though we are suffering, that does not mean that we have been defeated. We are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) and we are victorious believers! We have victory and authority over all things. In John 16:33, Jesus tells us that we are going to have troubles, but that He has overcome the world, therefore we are not defeated. Jesus has already won all the battles for us. Just because we are called to suffer doesn’t mean that we don’t have a reward (Romans 8:18). Our reward in heaven is much greater than anything we could go through or receive here on earth.
Look again at our key verse from James. The origin of the word “joy” comes from the Latin word “gaudia” which means inward joy, gladness, or delight. The plural of “gaudium,” from “gaudēre” meaning to rejoice (probably akin to the greek “gēthein” to rejoice). So we are asked to rejoice in our suffering. We rejoice because we are made strong through our trials and tribulations and because our faith is strengthened!
Similar to the process of making glass, our hard experiences refine us. Glass is manufactured by melting sand, soda ash, dolomite, and limestone together to produce a 3660mm wide continuous ribbon of glass. This flows from a 1500° Celsius (2732° Fahrenheit) heated furnace and ‘floats’ the glass over a bed of molten tin. The glass is then carefully cooled so that it anneals (strengthens & toughens). The cooling process modifies the internal stresses of the glass, enabling it to be successfully cut.
Without being put through the furnace, glass could never reach its true potential or ever be a useful piece of glass. Similarly, without our trials, we could not be strengthened or used to our maximum potential for the kingdom of God.
Confession for today: “Lord, may I find the courage to stand fast in this evil day and receive Your sufficient grace in abundant measure. May I find encouragement, assurance, and hope in the knowledge that however intense my trials and troubles may be, they are but for a moment. They will however produce in me a glory that vastly outweighs the present torment that I am enduring, knowing that I am a participant in the suffering of my Saviour!”
Love and nuggs,