James 1:2-4 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
As I watched my husband gather his things preparing to head to the office, I snuggled deeper into our warm bed thankful that I had the day off. Relieved that the morning rush would have to wait for tomorrow, a sigh of relief came with a radical thought. Was my job really that bad? Huh? Where did that come from? Was the employer who God chose to provide a source of income that would sustain our family a harsh task master? Had I not found the Favor of God with my supervisors? Had the Lord not carefully aligned my steps over the years to be promoted and prosper in this place? I realized in that moment that I had allowed my thoughts to align with the world’s perspective rather than considering the opportunity that the Lord had given me. Thankfulness is not a worldly attitude but a heavenly revelation. Our sinful nature will never be satisfied as it is headed for destruction and ruled by the desperation of death. Every day it fights for control of our heart and mind in the hope that we will revert to that old bitter, complaining and selfish attitude that once ruled our attitude and actions. The truth is I love what I do. I love the people that I work with. Of course, there are times when it is a challenge and my faith is tested. But the truth is that I am blessed beyond any curse. His Promise endures forever. The question is – “Will I?” Consider this today. I am thankful for a day to enjoy my family and mull around the house without anything pressing for my time and attention. I will find joy in the blessing. I must fix my eyes on the Goodness of God in providing such an opportunity.
Each day a believer is claiming new ground in the new life that they have been given by Jesus Christ. Troubles will come your way even after you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. It is inevitable. The problem is not our situations and circumstances but our ability to endure. Faith is tested so that our endurance will grow. When endurance is fully developed, we will be perfect and complete lacking nothing. This is called satisfaction and contentment. It comes by growing deep roots in the foundation of our faith – Jesus Christ and not allowing anything to move us from this position even something as simple as a rebellious thought. To be anything less than thankful for my present position is just that a rebellious thought. It has the power to keep me from completion and perfection promised in the new life Christ has given me. I must consider ever opportunity as one for great joy. I must allow my faith to be tested in every situation of life. I must maintain an atmosphere of growth by enduring when my flesh calls it quits. If I choose to continually surrender more and more of my life to the growth process called endurance, I will become fully developed, perfect, complete and lacking no good thing. I must consider this at all times in all things even in a state of mindless thought.
James 1:12-17 (NLT)
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
God does not tempt people. But He will use everything temptation we face to test our faith and send something good and perfect as we grow through endurance. When our faith is proven to be genuine, there is a reward. He rewards those who diligently seek Him. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Our love is proven when we stay true to the Lord and His Word even when life is hammering us with problems and hardship. Temptation is a product of the sinful desires deep inside of us that the enemy uses against us. He finds our weakness and then attacks. His purpose is to drag us away from God. He wants to steal, kill and destroy the Harvest of Blessing God has prepared for you at the end of the test. If sin is allowed to grow, it will give birth to death. But when endurance is given the chance to grow, you will be complete because His Blessing will meet you at the finish line. He will provide for faithful people all along the way. God does not reserve His Provision and Blessing for certain people just righteous ones. If you remain in right standing with God by faith, you will be blessed. (Isaiah 51:1-3)
Endurance is the rooting of our life in the Presence of God and refusing to move no matter how great the temptation or hot the fire of testing, but remaining there until He is glorified. Our family has endured the greatest trial of our life in the battle against cancer. Our life has been faced with many challenges as we have supported our son and my children’s brother through the fight. Two years is a long time when it is a matter of life and death. The Word of the Lord is true that our son will live and not die. We believe it enough to remain rooted and grounded in faith until this terrible test is over. God did not give our son cancer or allow it to infiltrate his body – sin is the culprit and satan the perpetrator. As we have aligned our hearts and minds with Jesus Christ concerning this matter we have experienced greater faith than ever before. This has been an opportunity for great joy that is unexplainable. I say this to say that in my innermost thoughts, the enemy did not come against my faith when it comes to God’s Care and Completion of this journey with our son, but instead attempted to plant the seed of unthankfulness in my heart today. He was working up a complaint for my lips concerning my job. I was tempted to accept this rebellious thought and allow it to affect my attitude and actions today. Rather than enjoying this day of rest and recreation with my children sent down by God as a good gift, I was dangerously close to dreading returning to work tomorrow and cursing it before morning ever came while missing all the goodness the Lord has hidden in today. The devil is tricky. But the Spirit of God living in you will filter our thoughts through the Word and convict our heart if we remain in right standing with God close enough to listen and hear before we harden our heart!
Proverbs 14:15 (AMP)
The simpleton believes every word he hears, but the prudent man looks and considers well where he is going.
Do you believe every word that you hear? Be careful. Whether innately or from other people, every thought should be compared to God’s Word, Will and Way for acceptance. Human reasoning is a stronghold that must be destroyed. (2 Corinthians 10:4-6) We tear it down by the Word of God. God chose things that the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise. (I Corinthians 1:26-29) If what you are thinking is not what is in the Word of God then it is not of God. The world closely emulates certain Biblical concepts putting their own spin on things which makes sin seem acceptable and grace seem like an excuse. This is not what the Word of God says but how people have interpreted it. The prudent person will look and consider well where He is going. A prudent person is one who is wise or judicious in practical affairs. They are planners and organizers who live with caution looking before they leap. The seek permission over forgiveness. But the simpleton also labeled a fool is easily convinced to believe every lie the enemy slings at them. We must learn to capture every rebellious thought and teach our mind to always obey Christ even in the smallest of things such as the idea to grumble about work before you even get out of bed on your day off. It seems silly now but perfectly logical then. Of course it does, everyone complains about work. There is always something to gripe about and someone stepping on you on their way up the corporate ladder, right? Sure – the enemy will give you every excuse in the book not to endure but the Word of God tells us that those who endure to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13) I believe it may have been God himself who told every mother ever born that it doesn’t matter if everyone else is jumping off the bridge (including other believers) – you are not going to do it, too! It is time to consider every element of our life and turn all of our attitudes and actions over to Christ and align them with God to live in righteousness by faith.
Philippians 3:7-9 (NLT)
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
I now consider everything else worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Jesus Christ. Do you consider everything else worthless? Have you compared every single aspect of your life to Jesus Christ? This is a time consuming process that does not happen overnight – it will literally take your entire life but will be well worth the effort. We must take our faith under careful consideration. To consider means to think about carefully in order to make a decision. It is to contemplate or think about thoroughly or intentionally. To consider is to believe. It is to pay attention to something. The Latin root word means to inspect closely and literally. Faith is not an emotion. It is a commitment that should never be taken lightly yet we do all the time. Most Christians cannot definitely tell you anything credible about the Lord because although they have called Him Savior and Lord, they have never taken the time to consider their commitment and relationship to Jesus Christ. I become in right standing with God by faith in Christ. Faith requires some attention. I cannot be considered righteous without faith that produces confident hope. Hope comes by faith in God that has had time to grow into confidence. Endurance keeps us rooted and planted in righteousness as we patiently wait for our confidence in Christ to grow. Challenge accepted. I will consider every aspect of my life in comparison to God’s Word and Will for my life. I will consider His Way before I take a single step because I want my faith to grow into confident hope that connects me with everything that God has for me! If we will consider the Harvest that the Lord has provided for us of good things coming our way, like the farmer, we will patiently endure until it comes. (James 5:7-8)
Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Soldiers do not get tied up in civilian affairs. Athletes follow the rules so they will be eligible for the prize. (2 Timothy 2:3-5) These are two very important things to remember when considering your new life in Jesus Christ. Let’s face it – it should come as no surprise that trouble is always on the horizon, temptation is around every corner, and the enemy is ready to capitalize on them both. But we are encouraged to count it all joy! My child has cancer! Count it all joy! My son has been healed! Count it all joy! No matter what you give to God good or bad, He will always make good on His Promise. Our willingness to endure the trials and hardships of life by faith allow us to receive the benefits of our adoption which is the Goodness of God through the Grace of Jesus Christ. You will never reach perfection on this earth but you can life a complete, full and abundant life through Jesus Christ. When we meet Him face to face, sin will once and for all be removed from our life at the same time the Lord will wipe away every tear and remove every hurt. Those who have endured to the end even in the midst of overwhelming heartache and overpowering hardship will be rewarded by God. (Revelation 14:12-13) So you can count it all joy, my friend. It’s all going to be okay if we press and push and crawl when we have to reach the end of the race and receive our heavenly prize which God through Jesus Christ is calling us to. He didn’t say that you had to be first or that you would be penalized for being last. He said, “To press on to reach the end of the race.”
Endurance is not a matter of the physical man. My body does what my mind tells it to do. My mind follows the belief of my heart. If I bring my heart and mind into alignment with God’s Word, Will and His Way, I will reach the end of the race even if my body cannot make it another step. But if I allow my spirit to be weighed down or worse crushed by the lie of the enemy and worries of this world, I will never make it to God’s Perfect Plan for my life. (Proverbs 18:14) To “press on” begins to take root in my heart. It moves to my brain as I consider what I believe and by choosing to change my attitude and actions to be more like Jesus. We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and our testimony. (Revelation 12:10-11) The lie of the enemy has no power over the Truth. Your sinful nature bows before the Spirit of the Living God within you if you will just press on, plant your feet and endure until His Perfection and Promise over take you! God is faithful! He will never put you in a situation that you are not strong enough to endure. (I Corinthians 10:12-13) You must choose to endure and press on!
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
It is time to strip EVERY weight that slows us down beginning with careful consideration of every thought that produces an attitude or action in our life. This is an enormous personal endeavor. We must run the race of faith with endurance which is the ability or strength to continue to last despite fatigue, stress or other adverse conditions. To endure means to hold out against or to bear without resistance. It means to admit or allow while sustaining without impairment or yielding. Sometimes we must change certain things in our life that seem innocent and practical to allow the supernatural power of God to flow through our lives. When I began this journey with our son, I was totally consumed with my job. I worked long hours and when I left worried about it all the time. I was a harsh supervisor to the people who worked under me expecting them to care as much about their job as I did about my own. Hard work and motivation are great attributes when you are working for the Lord and not other people. Enough said. But when my child was diagnosed with stage IV cancer suddenly my job just didn’t matter anymore as it tumbled down the priority list in just a few short moments. All the energy and effort I put into my job were wasted because they were of no benefit in the matters of life and death. Over the last two years, I have struggled to keep worry and stress under control relying on the Power of Christ and His Word to remove these burdensome weights from my life. I have begun to exercise my body to gain control. The elliptical is my race track. On days when I feel helpless after long doctor’s appointments, pressure to allow myself to become overwrought with worry and stress have led me to wear out my human body and take control. I get on that machine and run until my body understands that the Spirit is in control. While I am running I pray and listen to praise and worship music to fan the flames of the His Spirit as it battles my flesh, when I am finally done and the workout complete. I can feel the Peace of God – mind, spirit and body. It is well with my soul in that moment and I begin to prosper. Endurance keeps me running in the natural when battling the incline of the machine, but faith is what powers my spirit to go the distance even when it means waiting patiently on the Lord. You have to find out what works for you and gets you in that place of endurance. Consider this today when you are tempted to find the bad in something, instead look for God’s Goodness. It is there if you will choose to endure!
I Peter 1:6-9 (NLT)
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.