Jesus promised, in this world, we would have trials, but that we could take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). This statement is so so true. Girl, do we all go through trials? The enemy searches around to and fro looking for someone to devour. He is wanting to steal, kill, and to destroy.
To persevere is absolutely crucial in the Christian life. However, some of us are so ill-equipped at knowing how. I hope some of these ideas will help you to persevere in the trials that you are facing and will face in the future.
James says in 1:2-4, “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 lacking nothing.“
A simple look at the dictionary says perseverance is a steadfastness during trials. Steadfastness is a firm resoultion to not waver in your decision. After pondering those definitions, perseverance is not merely a feeling or something that happens to us.
Perseverance is a choice and a determination to continue on, even in the roughest of times. This is what James is calling us to do. He is calling us to count it all joy and to go through the trials that are thrown at us with a determination to please God.
COUNTING IT ALL JOY!
Our trials are all different, they are varied. Age, social status, and different cultures are just a few ways our trials may not be the same. However, all children of God have trials, they were promised. James says to count it all joy, my brothers, “when” you meet trials of various kinds. It is not a question.
How then can we count struggles, pain, hardship, thorns, storms, harsh winds, and the scorching sun as ‘joy?’
We can count it as joy, one because it brings glory to God! Those who are watching you will be puzzled at your joy in the midst of terrible times. You can testify that the answer is the goodness of Jesus.
Also, we can be joyful because we know that it is maturing us in the faith. It is testing our faith, pushing us to our limits, and producing a maturity, that can only be learned through times like these.
WHERE IS GOD?
At times, we may feel like there is so much thrown at us that we just can’t take it anymore. We can’t see why God is allowing it to happen. There does not seem to be any good that could come from it.
We are left confused! It feels like God Himself is against us sometimes. Many times these very trials are actually the answer to our prayer for a Christ-likeness. In that case, He is allowing these things to purify us, by pruning.
But then there are times when we call out for our Father like “Hello Father… I need help! Where are You? Have You left me? What am I to do now? Please show up!" This is very similar to a prayer David prayed like “I’ve been sobbing all day and night when will you appear (Psalm 42:3)?"
WALKING BY FAITH!
Though the enemy would tell us differently, we must remember that God does not forget us! No matter where we go we are before Him. We can run, but we can't hide. God is everywhere!
Even though we may not feel Him, He is with us. We must have faith to believe it, even when we can’t feel it. God loves us, the One Who sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, allowing us to come to Him personally. You can be sure that God has not forgotten (Psalm 139:7)!
REASONS FOR TRIALS!
There are many reasons for trials, and I am sure there are some that we will never understand. However, we do know that God uses trials to increase our faith and also to remove sin.
When we are going through trials, our first action is to pray and ask God if there is any sin in our life. We must truly examine ourselves, with the willingness to call out sin for what it is and to bring it before God who is loving and will not reject us.
However, there are times when we just don’t know why! There are many people in Scripture that we find examples of similar experiences, but let’s look at someone who didn’t do anything wrong.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE!
If you are not familiar with this man, I’ll give you a brief introduction. Job was described as blameless and upright, someone who feared God and resisted evil. He was blessed by God and was considered very rich at his time.
He also cared for his family. He offered sacrifices for his children, and he did this continually. God considered him a servant, a good and pleasing one who feared Him. So, why would this man have a harsh trial for no reason? This is the question that we ask of ourselves sometimes.
All in one day and at the same time, he was given the news that all of his oxen, donkeys, servants, sheep, camels, seven sons, three daughters, and his brother’s house with gone! The servants died either by the swords of invaders or by fire. His brother and children died by harsh winds that destroyed the home.
He was not prepared for these. They literally all happened in ONE day, and he was told all of this at the SAME time. God considered this man His godly servant… Why is this happening? He did not know, yet his response was one of praise.
A RESPONSE OF WORSHIP
He expressed his sadness by falling on the ground, shaving his head, taking off and tearing his robe. Yet, in doing so, he said something to the effect of “I came into this world naked, no possessions, and I will leave this world naked, with no possessions. Job worshipped God. His first response to horrible suffering and loss was worship!
He realized the things of this world, even his children could be taken away. They could not be taken with him after death. Many of the things we struggle with seem so real and hard...they are!
But, we must realize all of these earthly things that cause so much stress are temporary and won't be taken with us. We must focus on God, the Creator, and Sustainer over all of our good gifts. Instead of the earthly, we have a great inheritance, and it is not of this world. God is protecting it in heaven.
LET'S EXAMINE OURSELVES!
In our current trials, are we like Job, the man God said was blameless? Are we blessing and worshipping Him or are we accusing and cursing Him?
Like a real man, Job had emotions and he expressed terrible sadness! Of course, he would!! However, he did not allow his sadness to overcome him to the point that he would turn away from God.
We definitely can learn a thing or two about perseverance from him. If we were to read all of chapter one of Job, we would realize God allowed this to happen for His glory.
In our trials, we have an opportunity to glorify Him by not turning away from Him- By loving Him, having that steadfastness and that determined purpose to praise God, even in various trials.
Some helpful notes to remember about perseverance!
1. For one, it is OK to ask God questions. James tells us that if we don’t understand something we can go to God, and He will not get upset with us about it (James 1:5). He is the wisest source to go to after all!
2. Secondly, we must try to keep the faith. We must seek and ask God to help with our faith during the storms.
3. Thirdly, we have to remind ourselves, all of this stuff, probably the things we are struggling with now, are going to go away! These things are not eternal! This is not our home! Look to the eternal more than the world, you will find much more peace. Look to Jesus, your Prize, the One you will receive when your race is done.
4. Fourthly, this is the perfect time for Satan to come in. Even if God allows the enemy to have his way with us, you must realize that God allows it, but God Himself does not tempt us. We have to remember the character and goodness of God.
This fight is a spiritual one, not merely an earthly one. We must not be deceived, like Adam and Eve, when Satan tempts us and tells us that what he offers is better than what God offers!
Take your eyes and place them on Christ. Look at what is ahead. Let Christ be your Prize. Ask Him to help show you that He is the only way to make it and that He is willing to help. Keep going! There is the crown of life at the end. There is heaven!
May God bless you, as you seek Him!
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Also, you can watch the video below on the same topic of perseverance.
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Praise God from whom all blessings flow!