Words of Faith 4-2-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
In "Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye reflects on the news of persecution of his town and comments to God-- "It's true that we are the Chosen People. But once in a while, can't You choose someone else?" Sometimes we can feel that way.
We may find ourselves asking: "What is going on? Why am I going through all of this? If I am supposed to be learning something, I sure would like to know what it is." James tells us that God will keep working on us until He finishes His work. This is perseverance.
There are many qualities of God that we seek: Love, joy, peace, mercy. What about perseverance? If anything can be said of the character of God, it is that He perseveres. God finishes what He starts. God works through the hard times. God perseveres because He is the God of completion, not lacking anything. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Philippi of the perseverance of God "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:6).
It is the desire of God to finish or complete us. The Greek words here speak both of the "end result"-- telios-- and the completion of aspects -- holokleros. James wants us to know that God sees us through the lens of what He desires us to become. He looks at you through the perspective of completion, every part in place, perfectly sound, entire and whole. This is the nature of His persevering work in us.
We are called to persevere in response to the faithful work of God in us so that we may become mature and complete, not lacking anything. Through perseverance, we become who and what God wants us to be. This is the shaping of our character after the image of Jesus. Paul put it this way: "We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us" (Romans 5:3-5).
Peter wrote pointedly about the way that trials and difficulties have a transforming value in our lives as they refine our faith. "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" (1 Peter 1:7).
Perhaps you have heard the illustration of the silversmith. The silversmith heats the silver, again and again, each time skimming off the impurities. This process continues until he can see his reflection in the shimmering crucible. Only then does he know that the silver is ready. In the same way, Jesus lovingly allows the heat in our lives to be turned up so that the impurities of our lives can be skimmed off, and He can see His reflection in us. Perseverance leads to character, the character of Jesus.
How is your perseverance? Are you sticking to it? Don't give up. God has not given up on you! Keep at this thing of faith and life in the Spirit. He will most certainly complete what He has begun in you. He will finish His work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Wash me by the water of the Spirit and Word of God. Lord, give me the strength today to finish what you call me to. Give me the grace to grow up in you and to mature in Your Spirit. Lord, it is my greatest desire to have all that you plan for me and to be all that You designed me to be, not lacking a thing. In Jesus' Name.
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.
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