This Is a Test

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November 16, 2021

James 1:2-4 (NIV)

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

CONSIDER THIS

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Here is a true word of encouragement. 

[T]he testing of your faith produces perseverance. 

I want you to write that down somewhere right now. [T]he testing of your faith produces perseverance. It is the Word of God for you today, and if not today, then possibly tomorrow or the next day. The testing of your faith will come. Jesus never spoke more plainly than when he said, 

In this world you will have trouble. John 16:33a

There are people in Haiti reading this today, and among the Samburu in Kenya, and in the city that is a country, Singapore, and in Peoria, Illinois, and Seattle, Washington, and Clovis, New Mexico, and Raleigh, North Carolina and on we could go. You aren’t necessarily in trouble, but you have trouble right now. Let me put it in biblical perspective:

You are struggling in the midst of a trial. 

This is a testing of your faith. Repeat these words aloud, “This is a testing of my faith.” Say it again and again until it registers as your reality. “This is a testing of my faith.” Be clear though, Jesus is not testing your faith. The world is testing your faith; or perhaps it is the flesh (our broken proclivity to sin), or the Satan himself. 

Now, be encouraged. Jesus just re-framed your reality. He gave you authority over what the world, the flesh, and the Satan intended for evil, and you blessed it into the hands of Jesus—who is already turning it into something for your good, others’ gain, and his glory. How do we know this? the Bible tells me so:

[T]he testing of your faith produces perseverance. 

This is not the gut-it-out, white knuckling, never say die, don’t give up kind of perseverance we have become accustomed to. This is the Holy Spirit empowered perseverance of Jesus Messiah we are into now. It is the oxygen of faith. Notice who is not producing the perseverance—you. So who is producing it? Jesus, with the Spirit, is doing it and he is producing it through the testing of your faith. So lean into Jesus, and breathe in the Spirit. Don’t be afraid. Do not be discouraged. No matter how bad or hard it is, Jesus has you and you have him—and he has this!

You don’t have to try to have more faith or to believe more or to wonder if this is happening to you because you didn’t believe enough or you somehow deserved it to happen. This is the “world” that Jesus was referring to as the place where we “will have trouble.” We must cease being surprised by it. It is predictable. Let’s remember now the rest of the guarantee he gives us:

But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33b

He has overcome the world to the point that he can bend its brokenness into breathtaking beauty. It can take time, and that’s where we will turn tomorrow—to the fascinating meaning behind the translated term, “perseverance,” and about letting perseverance finish its work. 

One more bit before we close out today. Let’s recap the text so far:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

The text states with emphasis what I must put to us in the form of a question: 

Do you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance? 

THE PRAYER

Father, thank you for this encouraging word about how you take what is bad and turn it into something good. Thank you that the testing of our faith produces endurance. Thank you for the faith of your Word to contend that we know this already. We want to know it at another level. Thank you Jesus for the sure warning about trouble in this world, and even more for the certain truth that you have overcome the world. Come Holy Spirit and translate these verities into the depths of our being. We need to know these things beyond knowledge. Train us in this way of engaging our trials, especially the ones eating our lunch right now. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

How does it encourage you that Jesus desires to stir up your faith in the face of this trial—that you don’t have to muster it up yourself; that you don’t have to white knuckle your way through? 

P.S. COME ON—THE NEXT MAJOR BIG THING WE ARE DOING 

As goes the Pastor, so goes the Church. We are hearing from Jesus a long game calling to encourage, build-up, and deeply invest in the Shepherds of the Kingdom– our local church Pastors. The global pandemic has challenged us all, but it has uniquely challenged our shepherds. In 2022 we will begin a multi-year campaign to renew the heart and restore the awakening calling of these leaders. Please click on one (or both) options to register interest:

I AM AN INTERESTED PASTOR/LEADER (full time or bi-vocational).

I WANT TO EXPLORE SPONSORING A PASTOR(S). 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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