The Building Block that will Produce a Hope-Filled Generation
How do you respond when something in your life happens that either causes you to suffer or tests your faith? Bad things happen all the time and believers were warned by Jesus that there would be persecution. It is in these moments that we have to stand on what we believe, rather than how we feel. The letter that James wrote to the Jewish Christians says that we should consider it pure joy when we experience trials of many kinds. He stated that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Likewise, the letter that the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans tells us that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. Though these two authors were writing to very different audiences, they both agree on the fact that suffering produces perseverance. What does it look like when your faith is being tested? How do you react to those situations? While it may not be an enjoyable time facing the trials of life, we can take the advice of both James and Paul to embrace the process (whatever it is) and know that God will produce something good on the other end of the trial if we just persevere.
The World Needs Hope
The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said that it was by perseverance that the two snails made it onto the ark. Perseverance is having your mind set on something. It is defined as steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. It is having a never-quit attitude and always looking to The Lord for guidance until you see the desired result. If you give up at the first sign of difficulty, or when your prayers are not answered the way that you think they should have been, you are exercising zero faith. Hang in there and wait on God to provide for you. He is a good Father who knows exactly what you need. The good news is that you don’t need to have great faith in order to see a miracle in your life, you only need faith the size of a mustard seed. So continue to press in by believing God for great things in your life. Never give up. Never lose hope.
Our Christian walk is not a sprint, but more like a marathon and we should mature as we grow through it. God is always speaking and using real life lessons to mold us into more mature believers. We need to be able to look at and evaluate the things that we are walking through, because the Teacher is always instructing. While the testing of our faith produces perseverance, the result of developing the will-not-quit attitude develops character. The type of person that we are when no one else is around to see us is a good way to describe our character. When we have good character we can be trusted by others and trusted by God. Trials in our lives just give us more opportunities to persevere.
A solid character plus an attitude of perseverance allows us to have hope. Hope is similar to faith, which is believing for things even before we see them. Hope adds an element that the thing that we are believing for is good. Hope is something that Christians have, and that the entire world needs. The fields are ripe for harvest as the world is without the very hope that believers have found in Jesus Christ. When the world is met with trials and their faith is tested, they are often quick to give up on God. This is because they do not have hope and the character to persevere. But when a believer has their faith tested, they should make a mental decision to believe that God will prevail in their situation. This is hope.
In conclusion, the almost too-good-to-be-true news is that our Father in Heaven longs for us to develop into mature believers who walk with character and hold on to hope. We are to become more like Jesus every day as we grow and mature. While God is not the one who tests our faith (He does not test us and cannot be tested, James 1:13), He does use all things for the good of those who He has called to His purposes (Romans 8:28). So no matter what life throws at us, and regardless of where we are spiritually today, there is always opportunity to persevere and grow. It is a tool that builds character and establishes hope within us. The perspective of mature believers in Christ will see tested faith as an opportunity to respond in a manner that will help them grow. Go forth and persevere as we embrace the testing of our faith. It will only make us stronger.