Last week my teaching, “Our Immeasurable God (Topic - Lordship),” focused on responding to challenges to our faith. In this teaching I would like to drill down on challenges you may have, and especially on suffering, trials, and persecution and how they are an integral part of your life in Christ. James 1:2-4 describes this opportunity: “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.” Walking through these times with Christ gives you the opportunity for not only greater maturity in Christ, but also gaining a greater level of completeness that brings satisfaction in your life. The effect of these on your life is so powerful that you will not lack anything! In other words, your maturity and growth in Christ will take you into a deeper faith walk that will equip you to increasingly be ready for anything. James went on to explain this further in James 2:22: “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” I call this touching the face of God as you experience Him!!
James uses the word complete to describe the result of faith when proved out by action. Once faith is tested you will experience a greater growth in God’s faithfulness, understanding in God’s ways and a greater desire to step into action because of the good things He is doing in your life. 1 Peter 1:7 talks about how a tested and lived faith brings praise and glory to God: “These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Take hold of the powerful description of faith in 1 Peter 1:7: “of greater worth than gold!” Untested faith is talk, but tested faith completes the trinity of walking with Christ: knowledge – faith – glorifying God. Continually living this way not only brings you to greater maturity in Christ, but also allows the fullness of Christ to radiate in your life (completeness). 1 Peter 2:20-21 says: “But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” In Christ we have our perfect example. We must keep our eyes on Jesus while allowing the Holy Spirit to empower and guide our steps. Faith is powerful, but faith tied to action is transformative!
Philippians 3:8-9 “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”
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