Faith Under Fire

James 1:2-3 
2  My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
James is writing to fellow believers in Christ concerning many various and differing tests or trials of our faith.  Each test is different from the other yet they all have a single purpose – to prove our faith is a consistent daily living faith.
.As we consider these verses we find first Our Response to the tests.  James said to, “count it all joy”.  Here he is writing a word of expectation and encouragement.  You say how can  you have joy when entering a testing zone.  Your testing zone may be as a student when you have tests on the subjects you are studying.  It may be in the workplace when a boss requires you to do things that don’t fall necessarily under you job description.  It may be like mine in the physical health realm.  Forty years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease which for the next twenty years led to four major operations the last of which left me without a colon and having to use other means.  Two years ago I was diagnosed with a fatty liver disease which was caused by the stress and trauma of Crohn’s.  Now I’m waiting for a liver transplant.  How can this be since I’ve never drunk alcohol or smoked a day in my life. Yet, through all of this God has taken these tests and opened doors to speak with people, some I know and some I have never met personally, about the goodness of the Lord and His faithfulness.  Because of Him I’ve been able to be joyful as it opens new horizons to grow and share my faith.

Second, we see Our Reminder for the tests.  In verse four James begins with these words, “Knowing this”.  As you read and study God’s Word, the Bible, you will find that we are taught to be prepared for these tests because they will come.  The Apostle Paul penned some words of instruction in Romans 5:3,4.
3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  
Here instead of the word temptations you have the word tribulation which speaks of applied pressure.  This reminds me of how an irritation in an oyster produces a pearl.  God is wanting to produce something special in us for His glory.  He desires that we be conformed to the image of His dear Son, Jesus Christ.

Third, we see Our Result produced – patience.  You’ve probably heard someone speak of another person as having, “the patience of Job”.  I like to believe that truly God wants to produce the patience of Christ in us.  You might ask what is the patience of Christ like.  To this I would direct you to I Peter 2:21-24 which reads:
21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 

How do you handle it when your Faith is Under Fire?

Dear Lord, help me today to shine for you as my faith is tested by pressures of this life knowing that with joy I may glorify thy name.  Strengthen my faith as I study your Word that my faith roots go deep into thee.  Help me when I falter to get back up and learn from my failures. As Thou art my strength so shall my strength be.  In Jesus’ worthy name I pray.  Amen


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