The Genuine Article
Some things can only be tested by time.
If you have ever attempted to buy a dresser or cabinet at a reasonable price, perhaps you’ve considered whether to buy a secondhand piece or, for nearly the same price, a new piece from a discount store. The drawback is that such pieces may prove, when they’re opened and closed, to have doors and drawers that won’t go back into place. The item of furniture quickly becomes a real mess. It may look good on the outside on first inspection, but the real issue is with its day-by-day use and what the test of time will show, which will prove whether you have the genuine article or not.
How do we know whether our faith is the real thing? The answer, at least in part, is that genuine faith is to be discovered in the day-by-day “opening and closing”—in facing up to the challenges and trials that come our way.
Some suggest that victorious Christian living means the absence of trials—that if we are really men and women of faith, then trials will be an uncommon experience. Peter says the exact opposite is true: the experience of trials and difficulties is not uncommon, unusual, or unproductive in a Christian’s life, but is purposeful in God’s plan.
We prove to ourselves and those who may be watching that our faith is genuine when we face challenges and refuse to run away, instead holding on to our trust in Christ’s goodness no matter how difficult the path that He is leading us along. When trials come and everything goes askew, we find out whether our testimonies and the professions we’ve made about God’s grace, peace, and securing providence are genuine.
Charles Spurgeon wrote in Morning and Evening, “The one who would glorify his God must be prepared to meet with many trials. No one can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts are many. If, then, yours is a much-tried path”—that is, a path of many trials—“rejoice in it, because you will be better able to display the all-sufficient grace of God. As for His failing you, never dream of it—hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now should be trusted to the end.”
Will your faith prove genuine through life’s greatest challenges? It is not only possible to hold on by God’s grace, but it is also profitable on account of God’s grace. As you trust in His grace, you will discover that you can rejoice, because your happiness ultimately is not tied to circumstances but found in persevering in your faith—in knowing the sufficiency of Christ in circumstances you would never have chosen and in looking forward to the day when your Savior is revealed.
Patience in Suffering
7Be patient, therefore, brothers,1 until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
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