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Monday, September 23, 2013

Enduring Trials

By David R. Ferguson

    Some of the hardest things for parents to do is watch as their child is slighted. But what is even harder for parents to do is watch their child get slighted and keep their mouths shut about it.
    Yes, this is a test that is hard to endure, but the Lord does promise rewards for those who follow after His righteousness. These times do make for excellent teaching opportunities, and there is hardly any better book to turn to and receive instruction in bearing all things with patience than is the Book of James. This general epistle was written by James, the Lord’s brother, who ended up being a leader of the church in Jerusalem. His epistle focuses on warning his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that all Christians will suffer trials, so do not be surprised when this happens to you. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him,” writes James (James 1:12 [NAS]). This is a great promise of encouragement to all Christians, indeed! But then James is quick to point out in the very next three verses, 

"Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." (James 1:13-15 [NAS]) 
James reminded his readers that it is our own sin that convicts us, and it is our own sinful demise that brings about the punishment we deserve, which is death. As the Apostle Paul also stated, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 [NAS]).
    So the next time life throws you or your children a curveball and you go down swinging, just remember to take the advice of James:
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4 [NAS])

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://lakelandchurchofchrist.web.officelive.com/default.aspx



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