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“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.” James 1:2-4 NIV
Have you ever been tested or gone through a trial? Did you consider it pure joy? As I reflect on times like these, I can recall quite a range of behaviors that it brought out in me! Did I count it pure joy? Not always!
There are so many scriptures that compare our spiritual needs to our physical needs. God’s word is the bread of life and the everlasting water. Jesus was the Word of God made flesh so He was the greatest life source of all.
So, if I equate tests and trials to a physical work out, it could look like this:
I start the discipline of working out. Maybe I make a New Year’s resolution to get fit or maybe I want to get fit for bathing suit season and vacation. I go a few weeks and other priorities start to creep in. I just get too busy…Weeks, months and years go by. My body gets flabby and weak. I pack on a few pounds. I start to curb activity even more because it’s uncomfortable. Then, one day I have to exert myself and I can’t or I get injured in the process! Maybe it’s a snow storm that I have to dig my way out of. Maybe I have to chase after a child running for the street. Maybe my vehicle breaks down and I have a long trip on foot to find help.
I don’t have the conditioning or endurance to accomplish the tasks when called upon. These are small things but hopefully they make a point.
Our faith is a spiritual muscle that gets exercised when we go through tests and trials. I really want to practice saying “God thank you for that work out! Thank you for stretching my faith so I can be flexible! Thank you for stimulating my faith so my heart is strong! Thank you for showing me all that heavy lifting You do so I can have confidence that You will move mountains for me in the face of adversity!”
Father, I pray that I will be a healthy part of Your body – well conditioned, working in concert with the Head, executing in all circumstances – believing and stretching; overcoming and growing – in You, for You and for Your eternal kingdom purpose. I love you, Father!
Isaiah 26:3, Exodus 20:3-6, Psalm 37:4-6