As David and I sit and wait in this holding pattern we have both been turning to Scripture to find some encouragement, help, peace, guidance, etc. This morning I read in the book of James. It has always been my favorite book. I think you could read it your whole life and still not grasp all of the things that are said there. So many common sense things for living our life the way Christ would want us to. So, though the words are not new to me, because I’ve read this book several times, sometimes the meaning of the words will strike me afresh and give me just the kick in the pants, or encouragement, I need. Here is what I read this morning and focused my time on:
James 1:2-4 says this, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Perseverance must finish its work…what does that mean? I’m not entirely sure. I read it several times and this is what I came to for now. The word perseverance means “steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness.” Steadfastness means, “Fixed or unchanging; steady. Firmly loyal or constant; unswerving.” From what I gather from these 2 words and their definitions it takes a while to persevere and once you do you become steadfast, unswerving in your belief. What does this mean for my life right now? Well, I need to persevere under this stress, this time of waiting. I need to learn what I can and learn the things God is trying to teach me. When all is said and done I will hopefully be firm in my belief in Christ and know without doubt that he loves me and wants the best for me. I also see that perseverance means taking a long time. This doesn’t happen over night. I need to be steady in my “course of action” and let persistence take its course. Does this mean it’s easy? NO!!!!
Whenever I hear the word “persevere” I think of a runner. Now, I don’t run, but from what I hear from my friends who do you get a second wind when you run. You run, get tired, think you should quit, want to quit, but as you persevere you get that second wind and realize you can do it! I think it’s much the same with life. We run this race of life, and sometimes it’ll be an easy run on flat ground, sometimes there are a few obstacles we have to run around, or jump over. Other times there are steep hills (like right now) that we must hold steady and run up so we can enjoy the blessing of the down-hill. Does this inspire me to take up running? No, but it does help me understand what it means to persevere and hold strong.
What I am learning again is that Christ is right there, running along side of me cheering me on. Come on, Jeni, just a few more steps. Put one foot in front of the other. You’re almost there. You can do it! Think of how great it’ll be to peak this hill and go downhill. I’m right here with you. Christ provides that encouragement, he provides drinks of water along the way and when I trip and fall he picks me up and carries me until I can get back to the race. It’s a hard run. It’s not easy running at all, let alone uphill, but I am certain that Christ is with me, and I can do it with him by my side.
I encourage you today to think about where you are in your race. Are you on the flat ground? If so, great, enjoy it now, use this time to save energy and to replenish your spiritual stores because I guarantee you the hill is coming. Don’t use the flat ground as an excuse to slow down and get lazy in your spiritual life. Maybe you’re at the base of the hill and you know hard times are coming. You can do it!!! Christ is with you, getting ready to climb that hill with you. Or, maybe your on the hill, like me. Keep going. Reach out for His hand. Let him help you up that hill. Don’t do it alone, and don’t stop! You’re almost there. Or, maybe, you’re going down the hill. You’ve made it through the trial, you persevered and now you get to enjoy the blessing of going downhill. You have been made stronger and you know it. You also know that you made it and you made it because Christ helped you.
Wherever you are, know that he is with you and wanting to be a part of your race. Stay strong, be steadfast, don’t give up. Keep persevering!!