James 1:2-4 ESV
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 and complete, lacking in nothing.
This verse can stand alone. No commentary or life application sermon is needed. No pulling it to pieces or discussion questions are necessary.
Count all these things joy in your trials.
Testing of your faith produces diligence.
When you reach full diligence, you are complete in your faith.
Joy… in trials, in steadfastness, in faith, in life… you can and will have joy. The Lord procured a way on the cross for you to be able to have it throughout all days and in all circumstances. The price was paid for you, and now you must pick up your own cross and follow him.
Following the Lord has high cost at times. In parts of the world it costs your family, your job, and the safety of your being. Hiding ensues. Some places you can freely believe, but to keep the peace, you must be quiet about it. Worship in your church on Sunday and pray behind closed doors. Street side outreach is scoffed at and ornaments of faith are often tucked away. You don’t live in fear, but you don’t live out loud.
Then there is the rest of us. Liberty, freedom, and openness can follow us in our faith walk. We can freely stand on a corner and proclaim the good news. Some may argue and try to bring us down, but our rights dictate our privilege to be there. We can invite people to worship with us, and sing Christmas carols on a cold night throughout our neighborhoods. Despite bad attitudes, we can read our Bibles at work and listen to worship music in our cars. Crosses are hung, Christmas is observed, Easter outreaches happen, and Vacation Bible School conquers the summer blues. We are free and can live openly in our faith.
So what happens when you are in a free society and love the Lord so much, yet encounter those rapidly growing numbers in the church who so question that faith you hold so tightly to? You follow the words of the Bible so deeply and stray far away as possible from man made labels. You don’t adhere to twisted thoughts on God’s Words, assumptions made by self-proclaimed experts, or agree with hopeless dogmas.
You love Jesus. His Word is truth. You are sanctified by that truth. John 17:17. Yet no matter how much you follow, believe, love, and do, it’s not right in the eyes of many and you feel like you are swimming upstream among people you believe that are brothers and sisters.
Are these the things the Lord spoke of? Maybe we weren’t suppose to look for the persecution from the unbelievers, but the questioning eyes of our very own. The people we have trusted call to us into query of our very salvation because we don’t ascribe to a few manufactured thoughts on what a real Christian looks like.
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
And when we soften our hearts and open our eyes to see this truth, we can finally see that the Lord is near.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
And when we see that the Lord is near and grab on to the hope of this truth, we are free.
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
When we are free, we must not worry about the cost of freedom, it has already been paid. We don’t need to explain away this freedom to those who claim to already walk in it. Instead of fighting through the crowd of other believers, we should be walking hand in hand along the path of righteousness, glorifying the Father without constraint of the suspicious eye.
So we move on… The Lord knows our hearts. The truth has set us free from the bondage of false thoughts inside of His own house. God is sovereign and will guide according to His will knowing the refining process that He has us going through. The Lord helps our hearts and minds to grow in the saving knowledge of His truth.God is sovereign and will guide according to His will knowing the refining process that He has us going through. Click To Tweet
9 thoughts on “Truths to Hold on to as we are Refined Through Adversity in The Church”
Thank you, Maryann, for these reminders. “The testing of your faith produces steadfastness” <— that's the key takeaway for me. So important.
Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
Amen! God has His remnant, we need to continue to focus upon Him & His Word until the day of Christ, no matter what! Jesus warned us that amongst us in His very church are goats & chaff.
Neighbor at #LMMLinkup
‘Instead of fighting… we should be walking hand in hand’. It must break God’s heart that so often we don’t.
Your FMF Neighbour #27
I love how you’ve reminded us that the cost of freedom has already been paid. It’s easy to get caught up in that space, focusing on the cost. We’re much better placed to focus on the one who paid the cost instead hey. Bless you for sharing xx
I really enjoyed reading your post. I resonated with, “Maybe we weren’t suppose to look for the persecution from the unbelievers, but the questioning eyes of our very own.”
I think of “fear of man”. Whether fellow believers or not, measuring up based on others’ progress or accomplishments (often inside the church) is commonplace in today’s world. It is good for me to remember I have an audience of 1 (God) that sees me through and through regardless of all else.
(This is my first time writing/responding with FMF. #26)
Great post. So much to think about. I love, “Instead of fighting through the crowd of other believers, we should be walking hand in hand along the path of righteousness, glorifying the Father without constraint of the suspicious eye.”
I think that’s the answer. We must go on and do what God has called us to do and shine our light wherever and whenever He send us out!
Your friend on FM F#24
There’s weirdness in the church today,
don’t know where it did begin;
we’re s’posed to let all people play,
and to support them in their sin.
They say that love, it conquers all,
and ‘diverse’, it makes us strong,
but the pride goes ‘fore the fall,
and they’re just bloody wrong.
Now, maybe I’m intolerant;
I’m the modern church’s doom!
But I must point out the elephant
that’s hiding in the room.
No matter the “It’s not fair!” complaint,
Scripture’s true, or it ain’t.
Oh so true in more than one way.
WOW! This one touches me in a couple ways. Firstly, because I have division in my close family now, over doctrine. I do not separate from them, but them from us…Secondly because when we look at the banner verse in the context of encouraging us to stick it out and put up with and tolerate all the foolishness that happens INSIDE the fellowship of CHURCH, then I am a whimp and need badly to grow, increase in patience and love for my brethren that bring the foolishness (my brazen opinion). I will be looking for the Holy Spirit to continue His work in my life as I seek to avail all to Him. Thank you for this beautiful post.