Tag Archives: faith

Sound Doctrine for Men (Part 2)

Titus 2:1-2

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience

We are in the middle of a discussion on sound doctrine and the first three pieces of advice were covered in my last post.  Being sober, grave and temperate means that we are serious about bringing mercy and grace into another person’s life.  It does not mean we can’t ever be light-hearted or make a well-placed joke or two that adds to our point.  In fact, laughter is a help in getting a point across.  But we must not get out of control with jokes, or anecdotes, or conspiracy theories, or anything that takes away from the gospel.  Unfortunately, the church is going in all different directions, and not just toward the cross any more.  These are serious times that demand serious answers.  Being sober, grave and temperate are ways to talk with sound doctrine that will help us get through these difficult times, I have heard some call for insurrection of our government for what they are doing now.  I think the Romans ere much worse in Jesus’ day, yet He never called for insurrection, but prayer and loyalty.  Walk 2 miles, give him your cloak also, pray for your enemies.  These are His commands.  We must take on the humble attitude of sobriety, be grave in our conversation and temperate in our attitude.

Sound in Faith.  What exactly does that mean?  Isn’t faith, faith?  Isn’t it the substance of things hooped for and the evidence of things not seen?  What does Paul mean when he says sound doctrine is sound in faith?  I am not sure of the exact answer, but I know what it means to me.  It means that we take the whole body of scripture as it applies to faith.  I hear these name-it, claim-it preachers all the time.  Claim it – it’s yours.  Claim your healing!  Claim your prosperity! Claim your deliverance!  Never mind that I have asthma that is acting up, that my finances are shot and that I am steeped in debt.  Claim it now!  God owes it to you because His word says if you ask you shall receive, and when two or three agree He will do it, or if you have faith as a mustard seed, you can ask anything.  He owes it to you now.

I think not.  God does not owe me anything.  Nothing.  He has given me air in my lungs, hands to type this message, eyes to see the keyboard, ears to hear the phone ring if it does, and so much more day after day after day.  He doesn’t owe me anything at all.  If I ask, He will bring it about, but in His time, and that might not be the same as my time.  And He might answer differently than what we think He will.  The answer is not always what we think it is.  Do you think Gideon wanted to fight the Midianites with only 300 men?  Do you think Samson wanted to wait until he was blind to defeat the Philistines?  Do you think Jonah wanted to be eaten by a big fish?  God answers in mysterious ways, but His answer is always the right one, and His timing is always perfect.  Be sound in your faith by trusting God to complete the work he started in you with each situation that comes into your life.  Everything has a purpose if we let Him work it out.

Sound In Charity.  We all know this word charity speaks of love. How to be sound in the doctrine of love is really simple.  Just read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.  This little portion of pure gold by Paul tells us more about the kind of love we should have than anything else in the whole Bible.  The sound doctrine of love suffers long, is kind, does not envy, is not prideful, does not act unethically or immorally, doesn’t look out for itself before looking out for others, is not made angry easily, thinks no evil of anyone else, does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in the truth.  If that is not enough It bears all things that people may say or do because it believes all things will work out for the best and it has high hopes that all will come out well so that it endures any hardship that might come.  It never fails.  Never fails.  Never fails.

I asked someone once how I could possibly fulfill this definition of life, and he said that I could not in myself.  It is only through Christ that I can come close to fulfilling this doctrine of love.  This definition is the supreme height of love, and anything lower or lesser than this is not sound doctrine.  Every day, I must weigh my decisions out based on these principles, because I am supposed to love my neighbor as myself, and this is the kind of love I should have toward my neighbor and toward myself!  This is being sound in love.

Sound in Patience.  As I said in my last post, I love that Paul put this last, like it is the closing on a speech that wraps up the thought.  Sound doctrine must be drowned in patience.  James tells us that when patience has its prefect work in us, we will be perfect and entire, wanting nothing!  Patience perfects us through our trials, whether they be with other people with ourselves, with our government or our job or our children.  But patience is one of our biggest stumbling-locks because we don’t want to wait on God.  We want it when we think we need it.  We want that person to change their ways to suit our timetable.  We are an imperfect people, that’s for sure. Much of it is due to the fact that we lack patience.

In the list of the fruit of the Spirit, we out a lot of stock in the first three things listed – love, joy and peace.  But have you noticed that patience (long-suffering) is fourth on the list and is probably one of the ones we least want to possess?  That’s because we equate learning patience with trials, and we don’t want to go through trials.  We don’t want to see others go through trials.  We want them to find answers now.  So we will pray that a miracle will happen, or we will help them through a trial without seeking God about it.  Sometimes those trials have to be gone through to build the faith and to perfect that person.  Sound doctrine in patience helps us to see when we should help and when we should not.  It helps us to wait on God to renew our strength so we can mount up with wings like eagles.  This is being sound in patience.

This list of ways that we can speak sound doctrine is – well – sound doctrine.  These are traits all of us should strive to maintain in our own lies while speaking them into others.  Don’t get carried away by the waves of deceit and lies that are swirling around you.  Don’t take part in the dazzling array of end-time projections and doomsday reports for our country.  Simply turn to God and he will make all things right.  He will make all things new.  He will guide us through these rough and stormy times to a  much brighter day ahead.  Be sound in your doctrine, men!

Free Youthful Lusts

2 Timothy 2:22-23 King James Version (KJV)

 22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes

One of my youthful ways was to start something and never finish.  It has dragged into my older years as well.  I apologize for the long delay in getting started again with this blog.  There is no excuse to keeping you hanging for the next lesson.  It is time to get the ball rolling again and I pray you will enjoy what God has for us today

There are things in my life that I just have to run away from. I want to think I can stand up and fight those things by the power of Jesus Christ.  I want to believe that I can declare I am free of them and have the weight of those lusts drop from my shoulders.  I want to think I am strong enough in the Lord to stay away from them.  But the truth is that I must flee from them.  Run as fast as I can when they rise up to once again torment me.  These things have been with me since my youth.  They have attacked me for a long time and I cannot stand against them.  If I try to confront the, I will fall.  I must run and run swiftly.  That is the only way to overcome them.

Instead of following them, Paul gives us a few things we must follow after, or run toward as we are fleeing those youthful lusts.  The word Paul uses for follow means to pursue with all haste, or to earnestly desire to overtake.  It is a strong word that indicates we must go all out in this endeavor.  The half hearted one will not be able to continue this pursuit.  He will be turned back to his youthful lusts and feal that devastating blow of defeat.  We must pursue these things with all that is within us.. There are few things more important than a pursuit of righteousness, faith, charity and peace.  Let’s look at these attributes and see why it is so important to pursue them, besides the fact that pursuing these will keep us from our sins.

Righteousness leads the list.  Following things that are good and right in the Lords eye will distance us from the things that are bad.  Remember the admonishments in Deuteronomy 27 and 28?  Those that follow after God are blessed.  Those who follow His righteous ways have so many blessings they cannot contain them.  They are surrounded by them and flooded with them.  It is unavoidable as we look through the Bible to see that the ones who follow after doing good are blessed beyond measure.  From Noah to Moses to David to Peter, all go from obscurity to powerful men who bring down strongholds in other peoples lives.  They have a witness that transcends time.  What can God do through you if you just follow after righteousness?  How will you be blessed by this kind of walk?  On the other hand, look at the curses that come upon those that do not follow His ways, listed in Deuteronomy 28.  It is not because God curses them, but because they follow after the wrong things, their youthful lusts, and this is the inevitable outcome.  Doing good and right things can only lead to blessings in your life.

Following faith is next.  Why would we turn from this after we got saved?  After all, the greatest gift God gives is salvation, and that is taken into our life by faith!  Why would we turn our backs on a lie of faith once we got saved?  It is the allure of those youthful lusts that turns us around.  It takes no faith whatsoever to follow our youthful lusts.  They promise fleshly pleasure and they usually deliver.  But our soul is left damaged, and we once again turn to faith that God will deliver us from our sins.  Faith is always standing at the door and knocking to open up and let us come out of that bondage and into the blessing of the Lord.  Faith can move those mountains, part those waters, wake up those dead bones,  and set the captive free. Faith can open your blinded sprit and deaf ears to the things of God.  Faith can deliver those around you fro sickness, pain, suffering, financial woes, depression and all sorts of things that plague our flesh.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “Without faith it is impossible to please God, but those who come to Him must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Living a life of faith is one of the most powerful things we can do.

Following charity is third on the list.  This is the same word that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 13.  We will often transpose the word love in here, and that is OK as long as we remember what kind of love we are talking about.  It is not the wishy-washy love of the world that is here today and gone tomorrow.  It is not the kind of love that just gets a girl to say yes and is then gone.  It is not the kind of love that gets an ”I do” from someone only to turn it into an “I don’t anymore” a few years later.  The world is unfamiliar with this kind of love, or charity.  This is the kind that says I will give my only Son so you can go free.  This kind of love never dies, but instead it is there for us when all others turn away.  This post could really get long if I dive into 1 Corinthians 13, which is the chapter that defines the kind of charity we are supposed to have.  Just verse 7 is enough, which says that this kind of ,love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.  Without diving into all 4 of these attributes I ask you to go to God and have Him reveal what these 4 things mean to your life and your relationships.  Take up the challenge of following this pattern and you will not have time to return to those ways of the past.

The fourth thing we must follow after is peace.  Those of us who are plagued with youthful lusts are also plagued with the sense that, even if I do flee them, eventually I will return to them so what is the point.  The inner struggle within is rages daily and we want so badly to go back to those things for the short, pleasurable gratification they give.  It is not a peaceful place to be.  And then the moment we act out again, the moment we tur around from our flight, peace leaves us because sin has entered in and the enemy of our souls comes to condemn us once again..  This is when we need peace more than any other time.  The enemy cannot bring chaos where God has brought calm.  Be at peace.  Follow after peace.  Do not let condemnation come upon you, for once you do that lust, that sin, will only draw you in deeper and hold onto you tighter.  But if you rest in the Salvation of the Lord and turn back to Him, peace will once again enter in, knowing that the Lord has already forgiven you. He did that on the cross, remember?  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  He has forgiven you already.  Receive that forgiveness and walk in peace.

The last admonishment in  verse 22 is to follow men who call on God with a  pure heart.  There are good men of God in this world, and there are bad.  There are true teachers of the word and false prophets.  Make sure you are following those who serve God with a pure heart.  Those that are rightly dividing the word of God.  There are those who retranslate the Bible to fit their philosophy, or religion, e judged in the last days and exposed for their deceit.  I know I can follow my Pastor.  I have never met a man with such a pure heart for the things of God.  He shows love at every turn and will do anything he can to be a blessing to others.  He follows those things that are listed above at all times.  Paul tells us to follow him as he follows Christ.  Can you make that statement.  Do you follow Christ with a  pure heart?

Verse 23 tells us to stay away from foolish and unlearned questions.  Keep the main thing the main thing!  We are to spread the Gospel, the good news of Jesus life, death and resurrection.  We are to take the message of salvation to everyone we meet.  Don’t let them drag you into a dogfight over eschatology, or the evils in this world, or why so and so had to die.  Keep the main thing the main thing.  Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby in a manger, taught us the truths of God, suffered an agonizing death on a cross and then rose again to heaven to bring us salvation and eternal life.  All who call upon His name shall be saved.  Tell them that!

Worse Than and Infidel

1 Timothy 5:8

8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Before we look at what this all means, we must first look at the word “infidel”. According to Webster an infidel is “someone who does not believe in religion of adheres to a religion other than their own”. This is commonly what we think about this word when we come across this verse. We think Paul is saying this person is worse than an unbeliever, and in many ways that is true. But it is not necessarily someone who does not have any religion, or even who adheres to another religion. This same Greek word, apistos, is used when talking about Thomas doubting that Jesus was alive. It is used by Jesus when talking about Christians who reject the true faith. In other words, we are looking at a person who doubts the Gospel and the precepts outlined therein. He does not place his faith in the truth and therefore is labeled an unbeliever.

Are there things in the word that you doubt? Or do you adhere that everything in the Bible is completely accurate, without flaw. How about the creation account? Do you doubt that God created the world, the universe, and all that is therein in 6 days and then took a day off? Do you adhere to some of the different explanations of the “6 days”, like each day is a thousand years, or even a million or billion? Or is there a huge gap between Genesis 1:1-2 and verse 3? Or does the use of the word day constitute the limited understanding of Moses so he just made it up? Do you doubt creation?

Do you doubt Genesis Chapter 3 and original sin? Do you doubt that because Adam sinned, his seed was passed down to all men, and that seed was the seed of sin? Do you adhere to the wisdom of man that says everyone is born good and right with God? Do you think sin comes from each of us doing the wrong things, or saying the wrong things? Do you think some people can go through life without sin and therefor not need a Savior? Do you doubt original sin?

Do you doubt the 1o plagues that hit Egypt and the resulting Exodus? Do you doubt that manna came from heaven, or that God write on tables of stone, or that millions of quails came from nowhere to feed the children of Egypt? Do you doubt that God parted the Red Sea, thinking instead that it was some strong wind or an earthquake which is the wisdom of man? Do you doubt Abraham would have sacrificed his son, or that the walls of Jericho fell with a shout, or that Daniel escaped from the lion’s den unharmed?

What part of the Bible do you doubt? There Are So many outrageous stories in there it would be easy to doubt a few of them, wouldn’t it? I mean, after all, what fish could swallow a man? What man could aim a stone that good with a slingshot? What kind of person could kill a thousand others with the jawbone of an ass? There is so much we could doubt.

But when we start to doubt just one little thing, it is easy to doubt a second thing, and a third. It is easy to start questioning the Bible and its precepts and commands, instead deciding to just believe the promises and ignore the laws. I will take all the blessings of Deuteronomy 28 and just ignore the curses because a loving God certainly would not allow any of that to fall on me. A loving God would just take everyone to heaven, wouldn’t He? Who cares if the Bible says many will call Him Lord, Lord, but he will say depart from me. Jesus died so we would all go to heaven, right? I don’t have to do anything or say anything.

Just because God says that a man lying with a man is an abomination doesn’t make it true. God is love. He loves everyone, and we should not be against two people who love each other. Who cares that God says marriage is between a man and a woman? If two people love each other that’s all that counts. Who cares that God says he formed us in our mother’s womb and that he has known us since the day we were conceived? That fetus is not living so a woman should be able to destroy it anytime she wants. Right?

Do you start to see how much doubt there is in the world today, and even in the church? Do you start to see how we have justified holding onto man’s wisdom and putting aside God’s wisdom through His word? After all, if the Bible is not true, I don’t have to be responsible to an almighty God. Even if one part is not true, I can easily start justifying that other parts might be untrue as well. The church is starting to latch onto things that we are told are wrong by the Word of God. We have lost our fear of the truth and replaced it with our own version of truth and out own wisdom.

If Thomas was an infidel (the same word was used here), then are we not the same if we do not believe God’s word is truth? If we don’t believe, are we not unbelievers as well? I challenge you today to examine yourself. Examine your thoughts. Examine what you truly believe? I pray you find yourself believing the truth of God’s Word and not the lies of the enemy, or even of your fellow man. As Paul so wonderfully pout it in Romans 3:4 “Let God be true and every man a liar”

This verse tells us that we are to provide for our families or we are worse than someone who does not believe. Men have become so lax in our society. They produce babies and then just walk away. They are irresponsible and self-centered, having only their own interests in mind. It is a scourge on our society and is at the heart of all the violence we see in our country. It is not just about money and provision in a material way. It is about providing spiritual, emotional and mental guidance as well. If you are lacking in any of these areas, ask God to help you. Be the best father you can be. Lord knows we need good, strong men in our world, and we need Godly fathers even more!

Tomorrow May Come

Matthew 6:34

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

”One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time”

These words from the gold gospel song “One Day At A Time” express this verse very well. The truth is that we are not promised tomorrow so why do we spend so much time worrying about tomorrow? One of my favorite authors, whom I simply know as Fenelon, says “Don’t insult today by looking for a better tomorrow.” But we tend to do this all the time.

First of all, this verse does not give us liberty to waste all our resources and not plan for retirement. In today’s world, there is a need to put something back for our older years. Social Security just does not quite cut it unless you have no debt whatsoever. We are living longer and it takes more resources to live all the time. I have been one who has been slack in planning for my retirement so most likely I will be working for many years hence unless God brings in funds by some miraculous means.

At the same time, Jesus warns against building up our own riches for ourselves. In Luke 12:16-21 He tells the story of a rich man who has a good harvest. He builds bigger barns to store the harvest in. But God comes to Him and tells Him that his life will be taken that night. All that is in his storehouse will go to someone else, not him. This is told as a reprimand that we should not store up things for ourselves.

I believe God will supply for us as we continue to do His work. God has given me new tasks as I grow older. I had to stop working when cancer interrupted my career. Now my fatigue level is still too high so I can’t drive out of town. But God has brought other ways for me to earn income. I update land maps for a local company which brings in some income. I just published a book which is selling slowly but surely. Social Security is helping. I do not have a nest egg to fall back on, so I have to keep busy. But I believe God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory (Proverbs 4:19).

On top of that, I know that God has a plan for me that will bring me peace and give me an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11). He will only do good for me (Romans 8:28) and He will finish the good work He has started in me (Philippians 1:6). I may not know what His plans are or where they will lead because His thoughts are much higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). In every case, I will trust Him implicitly (Prob 3:5).

When we remember these things, we will not worry about tomorrow. We will not be alarmed when things do not go as planned. Our plans are putty in His hands. He is the potter, we are the clay (Jeremiah 18). Yield yourself to God and He will form your days before you. We do have to make certain plans like doctors appointments, business appointments, birthdays, holidays, vacations, etc. However we should never be disappointed if these plans go differently than we expected. God might have other ideas on how those days should go. He always knows what is best for us. Believe it!

Concentrate on today! God has only given you enough grace for this moment. He will give you grace for tomorrow’s situations when tomorrow comes. There is so much we can do today for Him, why look ahead to tomorrow. Let’s all concentrate on what he has for us today.

In the book of Haggai, the people were busy building their own houses and letting God’s house just sit in ruins. It had been sitting there for almost 100 years when Haggai showed up on the scene and said “Consider your ways.” He reminded the people that they were building their houses for themselves and disregarding God’s house. As a result, their crops were not growing and money was slipping through their fingers. They were too busy building their own kingdoms and ignoring the kingdom of God,

The people took the warning seriously and began to build the foundation of the temple. In Haggai 2:18-19 we read the following:

18 Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid, consider it.
19 Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.

At first God was telling them to consider their ways because they were building their own kingdoms. Now, as they have started to build the kingdom of God by laying the temple foundation, He tells them to consider something else. They have planted seeds, but seen no harvest yet. God tells them that from this day forward, He will bless them.

I believe this is a word from the Lord for 2019. Have you planted seed? Have you witnessed to souls, hoping they will accept Christ? Have you been praying for healing, finances, deliverance, or anything else? From this day, God will bless you! There is nothing you can do to bring a harvest out of seeds you have already planted. Oh, you can water them and provide light, but you cannot grow the seed itself., That’s God’s job. He is going to start growing those seeds.

Don’t give thought about tomorrow. Don’t worry about what it holds. Put your hand in the hand of the one who stills the waters. Trust and obey for there’s no other way. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. What have I to dread. What have I to fear. I’m leaning on the everlasting arms. There’s victory in Jesus, my Savior forever. The songs just keep on coming. We sing them all the time. Let’s now take the advice of these great songwriters. Let’s leave tomorrow in God’s hands and do all we can for Him today.

Be Perfect

Matthew 5:48

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I would guess that there is not a single person reading this who has ever looked at this scripture and said “No problem.” Actually quite the opposite has always been true with me. How can I ever live up to this? Perfect, as God is perfect? Jesus must have misspoke. He didn’t really mean what He says here, did He? But then again, Jesus always meant what He said. I also don’t believe Jesus ever told us to do something that was beyond accomplishing in our lives, including this verse.

First, let’s look at this word perfect. Our human concept is that it means flawless or without any blemishes of any kind. Our human concept is that it is impossible to attain perfection because we will never be flawless. Our flesh is always messing up, making mistakes and marking us with sin. Day after day we struggle to stay above this sin filled world, but we slip and fall and have to repent once again. Our flesh will never stay perfect and for that reason we will never see ourselves as perfect in God’s eyes.

But there is more to the Greek word than that. In the Greek, this word means brought to its end, finished or lacking nothing necessary for completeness. This is an entirely different picture of the word. I think of the potter. He molds and shape the clay until it forms the vessel he is trying to make. He smooths the clay, works it with his hands and applies the water to smooth it out. Once it is in his desired shape he will fire it in the kiln and allow it to harden. When done it is perfect in his eyes. To is complete and ready for his use. There may be small imperfections in the vessel, but the potter ignores them because he knows the vessel is ready to meet his use, so that is all that matters to him. He sees it as perfect.

I never want to think I am perfect. If I do, pride will rise up within me that I have accomplished something and I am something special. I have been there before and I don’t want to go back. When the spirit moved on a service, I would think I put together the perfect worship service. When many people came to the altar for prayer after a message, I would think I delivered the perfect message for that day and gave the perfect altar call. I did this or I did that. Perfection will never come from within me, nor will I probably ever produce perfection. There is just too much flesh covering my life that I can’t get away from its imperfections.

We have to look at this word differently. Jesus is not saying we have to be perfect in our own eyes. He is saying we have to be perfect in God’s eyes. The difference is huge! God knows where He wants us to be and what He is trying to accomplish in our lives. Only He knows when we are perfected to the place He wants us. We might still see all our flaws and failures, but He may see us as perfected for the purpose He has for us today. That perfection will change as we grow and mature in Christ. God is the one who sees us as perfect.

“How do we get there?” has to be the next question. The journey starts with our salvation. The sin stained life of Adam must be covered with the redemptive life of Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:2 says Jesus is the propitiation for our sins. That means he covers our sins so that God does not see them. In fact, God removes them as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). He tells us that though our sins are scarlet, He will make us white as snow (Isaiah 1:8). He says if we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9). Our sin must be removed before we can even think about being perfected by God. That is the starting point.

There are many verses in the Bible that talk about the Lord purifying us like gold and silver is purified. This points to a process of perfecting us by removing the things that hinder us in our spiritual walk. Malachi 3:2-3 tells us God will purify the sons of Levi so that they may present the Lord righteous offerings. We are the spiritual priesthood and God wants to purify us so that our works are righteous and pure before Him. Psalm 66:10 says that the Lord has refined us like silver. He has taken away the dross and left those things that are pure before Him.

But how does He do this? This is the thing we must grasp onto. He does the purifying through our trials and tests. Those difficult things God allows into our lives are the very things that remove the dross and imperfections from our lives. Isaiah 48:10 tells us He has tried us, but not like silver, because He has tried us in the furnace of affliction. 1 Peter 1:7 tell us that our faith is more precious than silver or gold and it is tried by fire. Our faith is tried and purified by the fire of afflictions that come into our life.
The key verses to me are James 1:2-4:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Perfect and entire, wanting nothing. There it is again. James tells us that this is attainable. We can be perfect and entire before God. This is not the kind of perfect that has no imperfections! It is not someone who does absolutely no wrong, who is what we would call “squeaky clean.” It is not a person who says the right things and does the right things all the time. It is not a perfection of this world. It is a perfection in God’s eyes.

James tells us first to be joyful when troubles and trials come out way. Sounds impossible, but it is not. This is the Fruit of the Spirit joy that is always there no matter what things may come. It doesn’t laugh uncontrollably or leap for joy or shout for joy. It’s a joy that knows God is doing something good and will rejoice because He is working in us, right at this very minute. The trials we go through are going to exercise my faith. We all know that exercising something will make it stronger. Our trials make our faith stronger.

As our faith grows, so does our patience. We learn to wait on God. We learn that the answer does not always come within the time frame we are hoping for. We learn that His answer always comes at the time appointed by Him, not us. So we have to wait, not really knowing when the answer comes. We have to continue to extend our faith in expectation of that answer, knowing He will answer our prayer because He promises He will. We also have to have wisdom to know when the answer comes because His answer is not always what we expect. He will send His perfect answer, where we always want what we want!

Patience eventually takes over. We no longer worry or fret when the answer will come. We just know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has everything under control. We wait and pray, knowing God will bring the best answer at the right time. Patience with God is a critical thing. Patience with ourselves is also a by-product. Patience with others is a result of it all. Being able to endure when things aren’t going exactly the way we want is patience. Being able to hold your tongue is patience. Allowing your life to be led one step at a time is patience. It is when patience is completely working in every part of our lives that we are perfected. That’s is when God looks at us and sees a perfect vessel ready for the Master’s use.

When I first saw this truth, I was blown away. Knowing that patience is so critical in our walk with God will change our perspective. It sure did mine! I realized that all those trials I have gone through, and am still going through, are God’s perfecting agents for my life. That is why I can have joy in the midst of every trial and test. I know He is brining me closer to perfection in His eyes. I know that this trial is bringing me to the place where I am perfectly ready to fulfill His call on my life.

Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect. Not in your own eyes, but in His eyes. He sees our heart, we see our flesh. We see an imperfect vessel, He sees a perfect heart if we have come to that point. Allow yourself to be perfected by God, and be perfect.