Greetings Fredonia Hill Family,
I am so excited to be entering into this time of year. Not only do we get some great cold weather but this is a time for friends, family, and the celebration of the coming of The Messiah, Jesus.
In our university ministry we have been talking a lot about the word faith. In fact, just a few weeks ago in church Pat spoke about the significance of faith as he talked about Hebrews chapter 11. I wanted to share something with you which has really challenged me in this conversation about faith and pray that it challenges you as we seek to walk by faith and not by sight.
Hebrews 11 clearly establishes that faith is not a whimsical wishing. Faith is not hoping hard enough. Faith is a solid and concrete foundation which allows us to live on the earth while being connected and rooted to the reality of the Kingdom of God. The book of Hebrews uses the words evidence and conviction to describe this link. The Kingdom of God is not something we can see and perceive with our 5 natural senses. However, by faith and the Holy Spirit, God has given us access to that which we cannot see. He has asked for us to live our lives here on earth by faith and not by what we perceive with our senses.
The reality is this can be extremely difficult. There are many situations in our lives which we simply cannot understand and explain. There are people in our lives who are hurting and we simply can’t find a way to comfort them. These are moments where we are so tempted to just do what we think or feel is best for the situation and not to live and to do according to what the Bible says. It’s in times like these where what we are experiencing comes against everything we know by faith to be true.
The good news is the Bible tells us what to do in these moments. Take a look at James chapter 1. Verse two through four says,
“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.”
There is a way in which we are to approach trials of various kinds and that is in a position of joy. It’s crucial that he tells us trials can come in various kinds. Sometimes those trails are mental and emotional. Sometimes those trials come as we go through something with someone we love. Sometimes those trials can even come as a result of persecution. However, regardless of the trial we are to count it all JOY.
James tells us that we are to count it joy because it will produce in us steadfastness. As we stated earlier, trials create tremendous tension in us. Will we continue to move forward according to what we know is true or will we bend our knee to circumstances and yield to the world around us? These moments of trial teach us what it means to stand according to truth regardless of the circumstances and the product is a steadfastness in our faith. The truth is that without trials, we would not know what it looks like to persevere in the face of adversity.
I pray we will reshape our perspective on the trials of our lives and count it all joy, knowing it is producing in us a steadfastness of faith which will ultimately glorify Jesus!
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