My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.James 1:2-4 NKJV
What does it mean to have your faith tested? I think of it as various trials and temptations that would tempt someone to doubt that God is for them, that His way is best.
God is supremely patient. He waits until we’re dead before He judges us. He waits until there is zero possible chance of us repenting before He renders us what we are due.
The world is under the control of the evil one. Life is filled with injustice and suffering. Sinful people do sinful things. That shouldn’t surprise us. The test is how do we carry ourselves in the face of a world gone mad.
Honestly, it used to upset me. Now, I just look at it as a sign of the times.
If we know what the Bible says about the end times, we will know that evil will continue to increase exponentially. Society now endorses and celebrates immorality and sexual perversion. We murder the unborn, because that’s our right. The love of money has corrupted every level of government and business. Worldliness has worked its way into commercial Western Christianity and it now perpetuates the status quo instead of being a countercultural force for change. These things should not be, but they are.
How should we respond? Should we despair? Should we fight? Should we judge all the sinners around us? Should we withdraw from society and wait for the coming of the Lord? Or should we wait patiently? Should we pray? Should we be salt and light in a dead and dying world?
I’m convinced the best possible thing we can do is make disciples. Teach people to follow Jesus. Show them how to walk with the Lord. If you know the Lord, you have nothing to fear. In fact, death is the best thing that can happen for a believer. We are finally freed from this world of sin. No more sorrow, no more pain, no more sin, no more shame.
In the meantime, we should be about our Father’s business. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but society is unravelling. All the false gods and idols we worshipped cannot lead us into eternal life. There is only One True God and He will never leave us nor forsake us. We must believe that and know that by experience for patience to have its perfect work.
Over the years, I’ve come to know that God will provide for our basic needs even when we have nothing. He takes care of all the plants and animals on the planet, does He not care more for us? The trouble is we confuse our worldly wants for actual needs. What do we really need? Clothing, food and shelter. If we have these, we should be grateful. Many are struggling to get those very things on a daily basis.
Take a step back from the frantic pace of consumer society this season. Pause and reflect. What has God done? What are you hoping for? Be patient. God is in charge and He’s always on time. We walk by faith, not by sight. Turn off the screens. Close your eyes. Wait. Listen. What is God saying? You won’t be able to hear if you’re distracted. Silence. Solitude. Stillness. Find your peace in God first. Then reengage with the world as an ambassador of Christ.
If we’re walking in the Spirit, we will manifest the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All of these things are part of God’s nature. His ambassadors are recognized by their fruit. You’re not going to judge someone into the Kingdom. But if you’re patient, and you pray, opportunities will present themselves to love people into the Kingdom of God as you speak the truth in love.
What this world needs is Jesus. Those of us who have Jesus should be sharing Him with everyone we meet, in word and in deed.
May God lead you to a place of perfect peace in the midst of the storms and trials of this life. And may you share that peace with the brethren and the lost. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.