Monday, December 21, 2009

Perseverance, wisdom and faith

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (English Standard Version)

The word, "temptation" translated into English comes from the Greek work peirasmos. It originates from the stem word peira, which means try or test. While it is used in the negative sense of temptation in other parts of Scripture, here in 1 Corinthians 10, it takes on the meaning of "burdening". As such, it brings great comfort to have Paul tell us that the problems and difficulties that we encounter in our lives are common -- if not the kind, at least the experience -- and if it has been overcome by others, we too will be able to overcome it. And more than that, God is faithful and he will ensure that we will not be burdened beyond what we can bear. If you think that you have reached your limit, God knows better and if you are already bearing the burden, you will be able to continue to bear it with his strength. And at the right timing, he will provide a way of escape: this is a sure thing - he promised it.

One quality that we need to build is our perseverance. And we can only learn perseverance when we persevere.

Here is what James says: " Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." (James 1:2-8)

Perseverance, wisdom and faith - in rereading the James passage, you can actually see a cyclical logic. Have faith, faith get tested to build perseverance, so ask for wisdom, but have faith, faith get tested to build perseverance, so ask for wisdom, but have faith ...

It seems that our life here on earth is an ever-going and ever-continuing testing and trial - so that our perseverance, wisdom and faith is built up, again and again and again and again. Sometimes it really feels it will never end, but we look to that glorious hope when we will finally be in his presence on that glorious Day.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." (Rev 21:1-5)




  1. I love that passage.. reminds me of our need to have the discipline of an athlete.