Note: yesterday I started the James reading plan from She Reads Truth. I'm intending to post my notes/thoughts/reactions/prayers here for personal accountability. I have a bad habit of starting a plan and then dropping it pretty soon afterwards. My hope is that in putting it up on my blog, I will be more diligent in studying God's Word. The following is today's post:
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.
Also: 2 Cor 12:9-10; Heb 12:7-11; Rom 8:35-39
White carnations placed in colored water will draw the color up into their petals, changing the white petals to match the color of the water they are placed it. This is the picture that comes to mind when I read the description of steadfastness means deeply rooted. Not necessarily an Oak Tree that can withstand a hurricane because of its massive root network, but a Willow Tree that sinks deep into the riverbank to draw up as much water as it can. And, like the carnation, the water changes the tree.
Trials test our faith, James says. And faith, when tested runs to its object for strength and endurance and hope. Financial crises test out faith in money. Health crises test out faith in doctors. Crisis of the soul (ie: every single thing that happens to us) tests out faith in God. Faith runs to God. Various trials make us run to God for various solutions and various needs and we see that God is more than able to meet those needs. Our willow tree has found a deep and wide life-giving River and will dig its roots down deeper and deeper with every flood and drought. This is steadfastness.
But what does it produce? Being perfect and lacking nothing, James says. Possessing Christ by continually drawing on Him is to possess everything we need. We lack nothing when Christ is all. And moreover, like the carnation, drawing Christ into us changes us into His likeness so that we are perfect. Paul says in 2 Cor 12:9-10 that Christ's power dwells in us when trials make us weak. Hebrews 12:7-11 tell of God's Love for us that is displayed in discipline. He sends the drought so we reach deeper into the river. And Romans 8:35-39 proclaims the surety of the object of our faith. Nothing can cut our roots in Christ. Nothing can stop His love for us.
Jesus draws our faith towards Himself, no matter how weak and small it is, and rewards us with more and more and more of Himself, changing us so we are perfect as He is, and filling us so we lack nothing.