PERSEVERANCE WORKS EXPERIENCE
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope (Rom 5:1-4, KJV). " . . . and perseverance, proven character . . . " (NASB). " . . . perseverance, character . . . " (NIV). "And steadfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope" (ASV).
Devotion 8 of 24
TIME IS THE GREAT TESTER
Time is the great tester of our faith! How graphically this is brought out in our Lord's parable of the sower. Two soils were conducive to the immediate growth of the seed. However, in both cases, time proved to be too great a challenge for the seed. One recipient could not stand the test of opposition, and the other could not hold up under the assault of distraction. Hear our Lord's words.
"Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow, and it came about that as he was sowing, some . . . seed fell on the rocky ground where it DID NOT HAVE MUCH SOIL; and IMMEDIATELY it sprang up because it had NO DEPTH OF SOIL. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because IT HAD NO ROOT, it withered away. And other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop . . . The sower sows the word. . . . these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they HAVE NO FIRM ROOT IN THEMSELVES, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, IMMEDIATELY they fall away. And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful . . ." (Mark 4:1-8, 14-21, NASB).
It is never innocent to be overcome by the world--NEVER! Men may teach us to be sympathetic with such failure, but we must be careful to maintain a clear understanding of the situation. When opposition drives people out of the pathway of life, it is because they have no root. They have not allowed the Word of God to sink down into their hearts. It has not penetrated their inner beings. When they are distracted by the things of this world, it is because they have allowed themselves to be where distractions are in abundance.
Endurance not only has to do with mere stamina, it relates very much to passing the test of time. Perseverance can only be accomplished when spiritual depth is realized. A shallow walk with God will eventually turn into no walk at all! Those who insist on surrounding themselves with things incompatible with the Kingdom will ultimately fail! Perseverance cannot be achieved in shallow and cluttered hearts!
From the standpoint of faith, our time in this world is "short," and our trials "light" and "momentary" (Psa 37:10; Rom 9:28; 2 Cor 4:17; Heb 10:37). However, only faith perceives things that way. For this reason, only those who keep the faith will be able to last the test of time. In view of that circumstance, "be not faithless, but believing" (John 20:27). Remember, only to stand the test of time will forever be with the Lord. As Jesus said, "But he who endures to the end will be saved" (Matt 10:22).
PRAYER POINT: Father, give me grace through Jesus Christ to endure unto the end.
-- Tomorrow: JESUS PRAYS FOR SIMON --