Good morning! Today starts a new week--a week I hope brings me closer to blogging more often as promised.
I have been “bearing under” many things, mostly a back problem that has changed
how I approach and plan for even the smallest details of life—the daily
routines we usually perform without thinking. My learning process for the past
six months has been quite a challenge.
had to reorient my entire life. Losing independence was difficult because I had
always been a “take charge” person—reasonably healthy and able to go and do as
I pleased. Living each day with chronic, debilitating pain has humbled and
softened me to receive help from other people.
With the passage of time and the power of grace, I am more content with my
life-adjustments. I am learning to control the pain rather than letting it
control me. God has placed wonderful, loving people around me, and I am content
with His care for my body and soul. I am convinced my healing is secured in the
finished work of Jesus Christ, but I leave the details of how and when it
manifests to God’s sovereignty.
James tells us events like this will occur in a fallen world, so we shouldn’t be
surprised when they happen to us. Christians are not immune from suffering, but
we are commanded to suffer
from those outside of Christ. As paradoxical as all other elements in the
Kingdom of God, we are to suffer or “bear under” these things with joy!
Let me make this clear from the beginning: It is not the illness, disease, or
injury with which believers suffer for Christ; but it is
how we have to endure such things until our healing manifests—slowly, progressively, with ups and
downs—perhaps partially, wholly or yes--in the life to come.
This distinction is crucial! Many people have become disappointed and even
angry with God because He didn’t heal them as quickly or in the way they
expected. They bear an offense against God that has them spiritually drifting
or worse--shipwrecked on bitter shoals.
Isn’t this true about other things we believe God for, as well? We must settle
the truth in our hearts that God is good all the time to us and His ways are
flawless. He sees from a perspective we cannot; His knowledge is complete.
But back to the book of James, which is where I began my readings for today. We
are commanded by the Holy Spirit to be joyful when we fall into all kinds of “temptations”.
The Greek word used here is not referring to being tempted by Satan’s forces;
rather, it speaks of “putting something to the proof”, much like an assayer
would take a gemstone from the ground and prove its worth. If you’ve ever been
rock mining, then you know precious gems come out of the ground looking like
ordinary rocks. Only when tested by an expert is the value revealed.
Take this truth for comfort: There is an expert in control of whatever you are
facing. He already knows the preciousness within. He is working to bring it to
the surface not only for you to see, but also for the benefit of others to whom
you are a daily witness.
James 1: 3 says, “…that the trying (testing) of your faith works patience (an
ability to bear under that circumstance).
It’s interesting that the word for “patience” in this passage (Hupomone) means
endurance for things and circumstances, as contrasted to
makrothumia—longsuffering with people. That’s another lesson for
When James refers to “patience having
perfect work in us”, we know that he is not using the word for sinless
perfection, but the Greek telelos. It
means to grow up, mature, and come to full-age, as opposed to remaining
children. God wants us to mature in
trusting His ways.
Look at the end of verse 4 where it says “wanting nothing”. When we realize
that the work of patience has a goal in our lives—to bring us to maturity in
Christ, and that maturity will lead us to a settled, trusting place in Him that
cannot be disturbed or shattered by any circumstance in life, then we welcome
whatever tool God sees fit to use.
Children complain, pitch fits, and even pull away from us because they cannot
yet comprehend the end goal of holding our hands when crossing the street, getting
that painful injection or eating their vegetables. God’s kids do the same with
the work of patience, unable to grasp the good and profitable result that is in
store if they “bear under” and see it through.
I’d love to hear from readers who may be going through similar or equally
life-changing circumstances, and what God has revealed to you through today’s
study in James 1:1-4.
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