The Testing of Our Faith Produces Endurance ~ blog
We just finished a 4-day study on the abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. Paul says we can be filled with all the fullness of God. Peter says we can partake of the Divine Nature. James says we can be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The problem is these things, as valuable as they are, are not easily gained. They cannot be delivered by Door Dash. There is no drive-through window to pick up what is available to us. They are not found on Amazon or anywhere else in this world. These things can only come into our lives when we are open to having God distribute them into us. Unfortunately, God’s delivery system for gaining these treasures seems to be having us go through TRIALS.
Yesterday we looked at what James said about the trials God allows in our lives because they have the mission of making us stronger, more patient, increasing our endurance, and steadfastness. Those are things we would all like to have more of…we just don’t want to have to go through the pain of the trials to gain those valuable results.
It is interesting to me that the word for “trials” is the exact same word translated “temptations” later in James 1:13-14. If the context is talking about things that God has us go through, then it is translated “trials.” If it is in the context of talking about dealing with sin, then it is translated “temptations.”
Trials come from God in order to test our faith and strengthen us as we endure them. Enduring trials makes us strong, deepens our faith and they teach us that God is always faithful.
Temptations come from our sinful nature and the world we live in and they weaken us and are destructive when we give in to them. They make us weak and put us back on the A-Train, Alone, Afraid, and Ashamed.
God tests our faith…satan temps our flesh.
For example, let me share with you a time when my faith was tested. In 1975, after graduating from college I was led by God to go to seminary. I was very blessed to be raised in a family where both my father and mother had successful careers. I grew up in Annapolis Maryland and attended a private prep school with only 50 guys in my class. These other kids also came from white-collar families and almost all of them have gone on to live very productive and successful lives.
My father and both of my brothers graduated from the Naval Academy and our family had a good reputation in the city. These things would have paved the way for me to go into the banking industry and live a wonderful life on the Chesapeake Bay, sailing on the weekends and enjoying the community.
The problem was where would I do to seminary? My parents wanted me to go to Princeton because it was prestigious. I was accepted to a seminary in North Carolina which was tuition-free. So, I decided to go to the one in North Carolina because it was less expensive, and I could maintain my connections with family and friends. However, that night I felt this powerful restlessness and could not go to sleep. There was another seminary I was accepted into, but it was 3,000 miles away in Portland Oregon with no scholarships given. Why go there?
So, I got on my knees in the dark of night and prayed for God to help me. The verse Jeremiah 12:6 popped into my mind. I did not know this passage in fact I had never even read the Old Testament. I was only 2 years old in the Lord. So, I got out my Bible and read these words.
“For even your brothers and the house of your father,
even they have dealt treacherously with you;
they are in full cry after you;
do not believe them,
though they speak friendly words to you.”
I was wanting to stay on the East Coast where my friends and family could be near and those valuable relationships maintained. But OH NO … God was having none of that for me. He wanted me to put my life into His hands, load up my 1972 Ford Pinto hatchback (that itself was an act of faith), and drive 3000 miles away from my family and friends.
My parents were against that. I had only $500 to my name but off I went at the age of 22 to who knows where. My parents said when I ran out of money, they would help bring me home. So, when my wallet became empty God opened His and I never ran out and for 48 years He is still providing.
I was young and some might say foolish but for me this was a huge test of my faith and God continues to provide even as we continue to grow 180 Ministries. Now we are helping over 3000 people in 60 different nations around the world which is only scratching the surface of the needs of millions of Christian men and women who need help walking out of their addiction.
Will you please pray for me and everyone who is being ministered to in our 180 Ministries Community? Pray for those who are in our Online Support Teams as well as the churches that have opened their doors to 180. And with the isolation that the pandemic is creating I fear those becoming addicted to porn is only skyrocketing while those who are working on their own recovery are finding themselves powerfully tempted.
I am beginning to transition from leading 10 of the 12 Online Support Teams to co-leaders in these OSTs so that I can start new ones. So, if you are interested in helping me start a new OST just let me know. Even those of you who have progressed in your recovery, joining one of these teams will help you by having you help others. Your recovery will grow stronger as you begin to help others start their own recovery.
Interested??? Email me!