Saturday, June 1, 2013

Joy And Steadfastness In Counting On God

James 1:2-4 [ESV] says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” I memorized these verses primarily in the New American Standard where words like “consider” and “endurance” are used. In the English Standard Version we see the words “count” and “steadfastness.” While these words intend the same meaning and are accurate translations into English, comparing them and our understanding of the different English words used helps paint a better picture of what is really meant and maybe even better appreciate the richness of their meanings.

“Consider” and “count,” they both have the meaning of weighing something as real and present. And what we are to think as true and count up as a reality is the joy we have in knowing all that our Lord and God is to us, that He is sovereign over our circumstances, that He has wrapped His hands around us, that He will complete what He started, that He is intimately aware of every aspect of our circumstances, and that He will not fail in bringing His good purposes to completion. As we consider each of these truths and we count the unlimited number of them, applying them to our particular situation then we indeed can find joy – a joy based in our relationship with God and His being with us. When we weigh this against our trials, our trials don’t come close to measuring up to our God.

“Endurance” and “steadfastness” also are both accurate words, which give a little different flavor to the passage. Endurance stresses the ability to come through while steadfastness might even speak to how we do it. It is not that the words are any different, but that they might bring different thoughts to our mind. In fact, the same word translated “endurance” in the New American Standard is also translated “steadfastness” as in Colossians 1:11-12 where we read, “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” Interestingly here in Colossians, while the NAS uses “steadfastness” the ESV uses “endurance” further illustrating their interchangeable nature. In Colossians we read that along with steadfastness comes patience, again as we joyously give thanks to God our Father. You see, the joy is not in the pleasure of the situation, but in the hope we have in our God. In Psalm 57:7 David proclaims, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!”

Today Sarah writes about God’s involvement in our lives and our need to stay conscious of Him, especially in those times of drudgery or struggle. When things seem to be unraveling knowing that our God isn’t and that He will keep you from it yourself is huge.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (6/1)

I am involved in each moment of your life. I have carefully mapped out every inch of your journey through this day, even though much of it may feel haphazard. Because the world is in a fallen condition, things always seem to be unraveling around the edges. Expect to find trouble in this day. At the same time, trust that My way is perfect, even in the midst of such messy imperfection.

Stay conscious of Me as you go through this day, remembering that I never leave your side. Let the Holy Spirit guide you step by step, protecting you from unnecessary trials and equipping you to get through whatever must be a endured. As you trudge through the sludge of this fallen world, keep your mind in heavenly places with Me. Thus the Light of My Presence shines on you, giving you Peace and Joy that circumstances cannot touch.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

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