James H. Cagle
The Bible says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (Jms. 1: 2-4).
As James begins his letter to the early Christians, he addresses the subject of trials. New converts to Christianity should be told immediately that if they follow Jesus Christ they will face many trials and temptations. They should be told that the tests are coming, and it will not always be sunshine and roses. There is a thorn now and then.
When a Christian finds themselves in a trial, any trial, and all trials, they should have the joy of the Lord in their heart.
Having joy is the way the Christian is to respond to all their trials. The Christian can respond to their trials with joy because they have an insight, a foreknowledge of exactly what the trial can do to them, for them, and through them.
Knowing before hand what the end result will be of the hardship we’re facing at the moment helps us to endure it. Persecution, pain, heartache and loss would be hard to endure if we did not know for certain that much good would come as a result of our enduring it.
When a trial comes, it’s the Christians faith that is being tested. To test our faith takes time and during this time of test we learn patience. What’s being tested is our faith in God and His promises. The trial must be for some extended length of time for God to show to the one being tested His faithfulness and the fulfillment of His promises.
By being patient the trial accomplishes God’s work in us, which is our maturity. Just as it takes time for fruit to become perfectly ripe, it takes time, a very long time, for a Christian to grow up and be mature, complete and whole in Christ Jesus, and lacking nothing. Trials then, when we understand their purpose, serve to enlarge us, not to contract us. And the end result of a trial depends on our response to it.
As we learn what trials can do for us when we wait as God does His work in us, for our good, to His glory, we will be joyful in our trials and count them a blessing. We can go into our trials knowing that though they may be bad, nothing but good will come from them, because there is a divine purpose for our trials.
The Power Of Love
A prescription to God’s moral plan:
It’s “Whatever the heart is in love with,
Soon its virtue is seen in the man.”
All men naturally worship something,
They bow and consecrate their life;
And with the potency of affection,
Their gods reproduce their life.
Always in a formative state,
Man’s character lies not forlorn.
But it gravitates to the object
To which love is solely sworn.
Whatever is spiritual becomes physical,
The outer life begins in the heart;
The seed planted in the soul
Germinates to possess ev’ry part.
Whatever man loves, transforms him;
A metamorphosis of spiritual acclaim,
And by this moral attraction,
Man finds honor or disgrace and shame.
Whatever we love we’re moving toward,
And surely becoming more like.
Whatever we hate we’re turning from,
And truly becoming less like.
It’s impossible to love Jesus,
And yet a worldling still become.
Or likewise give ones heart to the world,
And still bear a likeness to God’s Son.
For whatever the man is becoming,
It’s by the power of love that he’s altered;
And whatever would thwart this love
Is sacrificed on the altar.
No wonder, then, the teaching of Christ:
To love God with all our being;
That, by this power of love,
God is reflected in all our living.
To whom or what have we given our love,
And through that love our soul’s devotion?
To deceive we may deny our affection,
While love is shaping our transformation.
James H. Cagle