Following Jesus 143

Following Jesus: The Progress of the Pilgrim.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 ESV).

What is the reason James gives for the believer to be joyful? Our Understanding of Difficulties: The Reason for Joy is found in vs. 3. “For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

The present active participle “knowing” means to know by experience. It means to examine the genuineness of your faith: your trust, commitment, dependence and worship of God through Jesus Christ. 

The word “testing” mean approval. “Tested” was often written on the underside of ancient pottery, which has been found by archaeologists in the Middle East. This meant that the pottery had gone through the furnace, or kiln, and had come out un-cracked. It had been approved. By whom? The potter! Hence, God’s desire is the same for us; to come through the furnace of trials He brings without a crack. To prove the genuineness. Tested may also refer to the refining of precious metals, such as gold or silver. 

The phrase “of your faith” refers to the object of the testing. What God is testing is the personal faith (trust, commitment; dependence and worship) each believer possesses. Is that faith a belief which is true and real, or merely a façade? 

If the faith which is tested is indeed real, the testing produces steadfastness. Times of testings’ result in patient endurance. Patient endurance is the capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances. God is producing the patient endurance in you. Better translated endurance or perseverance. God produces good works.  

Psalm 40:1-3 – “I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.  And He has put a new song in my mouth.”

Romans 5:1-5. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but 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.(Romans 5:1-5 ESV)

I Corinthians 10:13 – “There is no temptation (trial) taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful who will not permit you to be tempted about that ye are able.”

2 Thessalonians 1:2-4 – Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting because your faith grows exceedingly and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure.

I Peter 1:3-7. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

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