An Enduring Faith

MEMORY SELECTION: “We count them happy which endure.” —James 5:11

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: James 5:7-11, 13-20

THE earthly prospect of the church is not a life of ease and tranquility. Our Lord said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) The Apostle Paul states in I Thessalonians 3:2-5, “[We] sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the Gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: that no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.”

We know from these texts and many others that the Christian’s walk this side the veil is a time of testing and a time of development. And it is in these testing experiences that our faith is tried. The Apostle James in our selected scripture tells us that the prophets should be examples of enduring faith under trial. “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”—vs. 10

The Apostle Paul, in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, enumerates some of the tests of faith suffered by these faithful servants of God, and in conclusion he says, “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.”

The footstep followers of Jesus for the most part are not required to endure such trials of physical suffering. The Apostle Paul describes the Christian’s suffering as follows, “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: … Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously.”—I Pet. 2:19-23

The Lord permits these experiences to come upon us as we endeavor to fulfill our obligation and responsibility of witnessing, serving the brethren and the kingdom interests. Jesus said, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:20) So it is the world and the spirit of the world that opposes the light of the Gospel message and the good works that accompany it. This opposition, in turn, brings trials and tribulation that test our faith and our loyalty to the Heavenly Father and his cause.

What qualities in our faith will enable it to endure these trials and tribulations? We believe that first our faith must not be based on credulity. It must have as its foundation the sure Word of God; that is, in knowing what God has said and having his Word so firmly implanted in our minds and hearts that we are certain that what has been said is true. The Apostle Paul said of Jesus, “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”—Heb. 12:2

It is the strong hope of kingdom blessings that have become a reality to us that enables us to endure. The Apostle Paul states in II Timothy 2:8-12: “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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