Friday, August 1, 2014


James 1:2-5a
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…”

I had a difficult time a little bit ago in my weakness, or trial, or whatever you wish to call it, of chronic pain and fatigue.  I knew that I was weak, my endurance waned, and I fought depression as I looked to God.  I have 2 Corinthians 12:9 posted at my desk to help me through times like that:

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

I found myself unable to recall what God’s power in my weakness looked like.  How exactly did that work?  I needed to remind myself.

So I studied around the verse.  In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul mentions “to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh[.]”  He requested of the Lord three times that He remove the thorn (many theories exist as to just what the thorn was), implying that he dealt with it over a period of time.  The implication of time makes me think of the endurance that Paul must have needed in his “weakness.”  When does a person need endurance, if not when they are weak? 

As I pondered endurance and weakness and God’s power with my husband, he  mentioned James.  James seems to be the helping key to understand, as it explains the concept of endurance, which goes hand-in-hand with trials and weakness.  Was my endurance failing?  Was that concept biblical?  Or was there something else at work?  James speaks of endurance stemming from trials, not being crushed by them.

James talks about endurance in trials, but endurance isn’t the first thing on his list.  First comes joy, then knowing, then faith, then endurance.  We are to have joy in our trials - or our weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions, or difficulties, as later mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12 - because we know that the testing of our faith produces endurance.  This endurance, in its perfect result, will make you “…perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  

Christ’s purpose, as mentioned in Romans 8:29, is to “…conform [us] to the image of Christ.”  To make us more like Christ, who was perfect.  He is always working toward that purpose (which is combined with bringing Him glory).  This is what God uses our trials for.  James continues on in his book with the knowledge we need in order to have joy in trials, but I want to focus on endurance and what that looks like in weakness.

The word used in James 1:2 for endurance is the greek word hupomone.  There are a few definitions for it, but two in particular stood out to me:  “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith” and “a patient, steadfast waiting for.”  So endurance holds a deliberate purpose at the same time as patient waiting upon the Lord.  This portrays contentment to me.  To be content in the knowledge that I will wait for God’s purpose to use this trial for victory, and to hold to that deliberate purpose of faith in God and in His purpose to make me more like His Son. 

As I laid crying on the floor and crying out to God, I had lost my hope in God’s victory over - and through - the trial.  All I focused on was the pain, the fatigue, the lack of strength, and no end in sight.  I tried to shift my focus, but it was a difficult uphill battle, as I had already been traveling down that road awhile before the breakdown.  I also didn’t have this concept of endurance, yet.  Perhaps it will help me to catch my thoughts before the breakdown next time.

The verse Psalm 27:14 comes to mind:  “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”  It was my favorite verse for awhile, and I think that I need to return to it with this new definition of endurance in mind.  It’s almost as if to say, “Wait - before you lose hope - wait for the Lord to work in you.  His grace is sufficient for this trial.  Let your heart take courage, because He will have the victory.  Yes, be content, and wait for the Lord.”

I pray that He would bolster my faith, that I would exercise deliberate purpose to seek His knowledge as a high priority.

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