Brian Zahnd: Encourage Yourself in God

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Jesus told Peter what would happen when he was tested, saying that Peter's faith would not fail (see Luke 22:32). Peter failed, but his faith did not completely fail. Peter failed in his courage, and he failed in his commitment, but his faith did not completely fail. There was a lot of ?aky stuff in Peter that needed to be exposed and blown away. His boasting, his bravado and his self-reliance were all ?aky things that would be blown away in the trial. There was a genuine faith in Peter that enabled him to repent and return to Jesus. Like the wheat that is thrown into the air, the chaff is carried away, but the grain returns to the same place. This is the way it was with Peter. He was thrown into the air in the midst of a trial, and his pride was blown away, but his faith returned to Jesus.

The testing of our faith produces something--it produces patience (see James 1:3). The Greek word for "patience" used here is hupo­mone, which means, "cheerful consistency." When you have hupomone in the midst of your trial, you maintain the same cheerful attitude of victory. When you have hupomone, people may not be able to tell you are going through a trial because you act the same way--you are cheerfully consistent. It is by exhibiting the patience of hupomone in the midst of a trial--admittedly a difficult spiritual skill to master--that you pass the test of your faith.

What happens if you don't pass the test? You don't fail, but you do get to take the test over. You will face this kind of test until you learn to pass the test by maintaining a cheerful and consistent attitude of victory no matter what your circum­stances. This is hupomone. Sadly, it's a test the ?rst generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt never did pass, and as a result, they were never able to enter the Promised Land, a land ?owing with the milk of abundance and the honey of sweet victory. David, on the other hand, knew how to pass the faith test. Let's learn from David.

We all enjoy telling our own stories of God's deliverances, but without a test, there is no deliverance, no story, no testi­mony. Every glorious testimony that inspires the faith of others begins with a test. In the midst of a trial, the object is to turn the test into a testimony.

So what happens when you add hupomone patience to ?re-re?ned faith? James says you will lack nothing but will be "perfect and complete" (James 1:4).

It is God's will that you lack no good thing (see Ps. 84:11). Though the devil's intent in the attack is to steal from you and diminish you, God will work with you in the midst of the trial to bring you into greater abundance. An amazing thing!

If we lack wisdom or any other thing that God has prom­ised, all we need to do is "ask of God." He will never rebuke us for asking or refuse to respond. He "gives to all liberally," and we will lack nothing (see James 1:5).

Lack nothing--what a wonderful promise. If you can govern your emotions and maintain your joy, if you recog­nize your trial is nothing but a test of your faith, if you can maintain the cheerful consistency of patience, then in the end you will lack nothing. This is the promise of God!

For additional information and to read another chapter sample, visit whattodoontheworstdayofyourlife.com. Click here to purchase this book.

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