As Thanksgiving Day approaches and most likely while we sit around the table with our family and friends, many of us will take the time to express our thanks for all the great and wonderful things that happened to us and/or our families in the past year. Sadly there are some that do not even take the time to thank God for the good and wonderful things he does for us every day. This year God has placed a different message on my heart that I would like to share with all of you.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Wow…a trying time to be considered pure joy…wow! This is the kind of spiritual maturity I am striving for, the kind of maturity I want to model to the world. I have certainly grown in my spiritual maturity but still have plenty of room to grow.
When I was less spiritually mature I used to pray that God help me out of the troubling times I was amidst. As I have grown I have realized more and learned that God tells us he is with us through all things. I am learning that there is a reason for the troubling time and God is not there to pull us out, instead he is there to give us the strength push us through.
Trails and tribulations should not be a surprise to us, especially to those that place their faith in Gods Word. Not only does Gods Word tell us that troubling times are certain, he is telling us to embrace them for great things will come out of them.
If I am able to mature to the level where I actually embrace troubles, I will be able to model the strength and power of Christ that the world cannot understand. People will look upon me and see the power of God that will make them question how they too may obtain such strength and power. Man…do I ever want to be that kind of guy.
This year as you sit around the dinner table thinking about the things you could give thanks for, take a moment and think about the troubles you have had this year and what good has come of them. If you are amidst the troubling times now, ask God what it is he has in store for you as a result of these hard times.
When you look back at the scripture in James 1:2-4, it is not something of monetary value that God tells us we will reap. The physical riches of the world is not what God is telling us about. Instead he tells us that perseverance is what we will gain, not money, cars, electronics, etc.
When the world hungers for Christ, it is not the physical things we have that will make them think those things will satisfy their hunger. No, it is the demonstration of the power of Christ that is within us that will draw them unto Him.
We are the light…we are the model…we are the living example. How bright we shine, how well we model, how good of an example we are is all up to us. We need to make the choice and commit.
That is why trials and tribulations are necessary. God is trying to help us mature and prune us to be the best light, model, and example we can be. He is trying to help us, help ourselves.