Posted: Thursday, November 17
Verse of the day:
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” (James 1: 2-3)
Many years ago, as a teenager, I was a member of the bible quiz team at my church. We were not very good in competition, but I still remember all the hard work memorizing scriptures. One of the first books we studied was the book of James. Even though it has been over 25 years ago, I can still remember the opening verses of James. Every time that I read them the image of hard work and dedication that it took to memorize those verses years ago come flooding back.
If someone asked if I had a life verse, these first two verses along with verse three are really at the heart of who I am. I firmly believe that every storm and hard time in our lives is a chance for us to grow. God is at work in us. Every situation of life is another opportunity for us to decrease and allow for God to increase in our lives.
I love the promise that is contained in verse 3: “So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
Many people ask me why I am still in youth ministry after over 22 years. It is simple, I love to watch teenagers go through the times of trial and testing so that they come out the other side as mature, Christ-honoring young men and women. I love the hard work, the times of doubting and questions, and the pain that comes throughout the teenage years. I love it because of what it shapes on the inside of each of the students.
Diamonds are shaped under pressure. You cannot enjoy the juice of the grape or the oil of the olive unless they are pressed. When pressure is added to our lives, we have the ability to shift into something amazing.
Are you allowing the pressure around you to crush you or to make you shift your focus from your abilities to God? We are not perfected through trials because we find the strength to endure within ourselves. We are perfected when we realize that unless we put all our trust and strength in God, we will have no strength at all. In the end, it is really all about God becoming so big in our lives and that we are patient enough to trust in his strength and let him respond. Perfect