My daughter loves to ride her bike! The joy on her face when she flies down the street, looks back, and says, “Look, Mommy, no hands!” is something I will always cherish. Her joyful expression came as a result of many falls, a couple of skinned knees, and quite a bit of frustration. My husband, Jaron, spent many afternoons and Saturday mornings working with her, encouraging her, and at times making her get back up when all she wanted to do was quit. But, it was the perseverance called forth by my husband that motivated our daughter to press forward. Now, she can now ride circles around the rest of us! Literally.
James 1:2-4 tells us to, “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.” Notice the significance of this equational truth that James shared:
TESTING = PERSEVERANCE
PERSEVERANCE = MATURITY
We live in a society where it’s common to give up when things get hard. But as children of God, we are called to a higher standard. We were not created to be common. We were created in the likeness of our Father God -- and it’s not in His nature to give up! David speaks of this in the context of God’s love in Psalms 23:6, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.” Over and over again in the Scriptures, we see God exemplify love through His faithful and grace-filled pursuit of us. God perseveres! And as a result, we learn our understanding of who God is must be rooted in love because God is love. And, if we genuinely believe God loves us as a Father loves His child, then we will be able to see trials as an opportunity -- gifted by God -- to grow our faith and fulfill our purpose. My husband didn’t push our daughter because he enjoyed seeing her get upset. He kept encouraging her to keep getting back up again because he knew she had what it took to overcome the challenge and reach her potential. Likewise, our Heavenly Father doesn’t take pleasure in the pain that accompanies our testing; He takes pleasure in the growth that comes as a result of us persevering through it! The next time we find our faith being tested, let’s go back to our foundational understanding of who God is. Remembering, our Father loves us like a child and has given us the ability to consider it an opportunity instead of opposition. PRAYER & REFLECTIONS FROM PASTOR ERIC: In reading Jordan’s thoughts, and knowing her husband, Jaron, so well… I can so easily visualize the hand of God steadying me. But also picking me up when I fall. Setting me back on the seat of my purpose. And pushing me forward to persevere into the land of potential made manifest. My prayer, “Heavenly Father, I repent for every time I have wanted to quit. I ask forgiveness for every time that I have whined and complained. Wipe my slate clean and you heal the wounds made in my failing attempts at holiness and manifesting purpose. With your help, I stand up. I invite you to steady me. Push me. Propel me. Call me forward. Thank you for receiving me as your child and leading me to that grand moment when someday I will finally get to take the training wheels off. Onward and upward! In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
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