What does it mean to persevere? And under what conditions do we do so?
Perseverance - to remain steady in a course of action, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.
Place that definition into James' statement "Consider it pure joy, my brothers [and sisters], whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. [Remain steady and stay the course] so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Americans are bailout "professionals". We bailout:
- When marriage becomes difficult we divorce
- When church becomes difficult we either quit or transfer our membership to another church
- When job situations become tough we print out multiple resumes and look for another position elsewhere
- When emotional pain becomes unbearable we resort to coping medication (both legal and illegal)
- When adult children make continued irresponsible decisions we bail them out
God uses the tough stuff to toughen our stuffing (our internal resolve to become mature believers). The path to maturity leads through fields of disappointment, hurt, and sometimes, unbearable pain. It is always too soon to bail out. The saints of God must rediscover what it means to persevere.
Questions for today's Chronological reading:
James 1:13-3:18 (James has been called "The Proverbs of the New Testament")
- Read Proverbs 12:27b and record one of man's greatest possessions.
- How does God reward those who persevere under trial?
- What is the difference between a trial and a temptation?
- Read Genesis 4:5-8 and record how Cain's anger affected him and others.
- How does James describe true religion?
- Define discrimination (1:9-11; 2:1-11)
- How does James define genuine faith?
- Why is James' promise in 1:5 so vital in light of his teaching on the tongue?
- Describe the difference between godly wisdom and earthly wisdom.
Ask the Lord to reveal to you areas in your life where you've given up and bailed out. Ask Him to help you get back on the track of maturation.