“Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:3)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:2-5)
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.” (1:6-11)
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” (1:12-18)
As I read through this passage this morning, I am drawn to verse three: “because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” You see, most of my life has consisted of acting like I have it all together. In reality, I’m quite unsure about who I am and where I’m going and most of all, I hate failing at anything.
This reminds me of Donald Miller’s book, “Searching For God Knows What“. In chapter 8, Mr. Miller writes: “…in the end, I had to concede my motives of faith often take a back seat to my broken nature and desire to feel validity in life. I told the guy in Seattle that I am broken, that I like to write, but basically, subconsciously, I just want people to like me.” (Pg. 116) This is where my faith is tested.
When speaking about spiritual topics or scriptural reference, I tend to defer to God’s sovereignty and a ‘whatever will be, will be‘ type attitude. At the same time, in my mind, I experience waves of doubt in whether or not I have or will, say or do the right thing.
I am constantly in a state of hiding my insecurities to convince others that I am some sort of authority on life and spiritual growth. If I can keep everything on the level of God’s sovereignty, then maybe I won’t doubt that I could be failing in a relationship or some other area of life.
Now don’t get me wrong, I try my best and I do believe that I have positively impacted the relational and spiritual well-being of many people. As I look back on my life, I see the ‘perseverance‘ that has come from struggling through these feelings of doubt and areas of testing.
However, like Donald Miller stated, when it comes down to it, I am left wondering if I am simply in a state of wanting “people to like me.” Instead, I should be fully relying on God’s ability to restore everything, including my inconsistencies and even my failures.
Originally posted at QuietMorningsWithHim.com by Jeremy Norton.