walk in the word
2Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing —James 1:2-4
“Trials of various kinds,” as James put it, include sharp challenges as well as draining obstacles to “steadfastness” or perseverance. Take, for example, Paul’s little note to Timothy, “When you come, bring the cloak which I left with Carpus at Troas” (2 Timothy 4:13a). The cloak is a wool outer garment. So Paul is saying in effect, “I’m cold.” Actually, he was in a stinking, rat-infested, very damp prison and winter was coming. Then Paul adds, “Also the books, and above all the parchments” (v.13b). We’re not sure whether Paul is referring to some Old Testament Scripture or maybe some blank parchments. Writing materials were very expensive back then. He needed them.
These simple requests point to Paul’s discomfort. He didn’t have even his possessions. Paul was getting by with few of the comforts of life. Why? Because he was committed to persevering for the Lord.
I wonder what comforts you are foregoing because of your commitment to following Christ. I’m so encouraged when I meet Christians who say with a smile, “I’ll never have that. I’ll never know that in this life. We give our excess to the Lord. We want to be faithful and we’re okay with that because we want to honor Him.” Good for you!
Some of you are giving up peace in your home. How easy it would be to just ignore the trends that you see in your children or in your spouse and yet you created tension over it because you want God’s highest and best for your home. But you are paying a price of discomfort.
You may be giving up the pace of life you would prefer. My own wheels have been spinning pretty fast over the last month. Sometimes I would like to put my feet up for a while and just relax and take it easy! But the Bible everywhere urges urgency. Jesus said, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4). I’m all for a balanced lifestyle, but we are to be laboring in the fields because they are ripe. Hard work is part of the challenge of living for Christ. There is a lot of discomfort sometimes.
Father God, Your Word reminds me that contentment can’t be dependent on either the abundance of or the lack of things. Contentment flows out of finding my ultimate purpose in You and what You guide me to do. Help me to turn my awareness of discomforts into praise for the much greater glory to be found in You! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
brought to you by change partners