Monday, February 28, 2011

Perseverance MUST finish?

This morning I was reading Bill Mounce’s weekly article on the Greek language as used in the New Testament. Normally he takes a particular Greek word or phrase and discusses possible meanings and draws out the implications of the appropriate translation. This week though didn’t rely on the Greek translation as much [though he did discuss the best way to translate it]. Rather he drew out the practical implications of James 1:4, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” [NIV]
“… We are being told to be patient with the maturing process. Testing will produce perseverance, and we are not to sidestep the process but rather lean into it and allow perseverance to do all that God intends it to do, and at the end of the day lies the promise of spiritual maturity… Perseverance in the face of trials is a difficult topic. Isn’t it true that our natural instincts are to run from the trials and testing? No sane person enjoys pain, and we have psychological terms for those who do. But God has evidently so ordered reality that the path to spiritual maturity is down the narrow path, the path of pain and persecution. That’s just the way it is. We can either run from it and never grow up, or we can embrace it, lean into the pain, and trust God.”
Read the rest here.

I found this a very helpful way to express the reality that trial and suffering are realities that God prescribes for us to walk through as he matures us.

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