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 17 of 24
THE TESTIMONY OF THE SAINTS
Timorous disciples must come away from vain counselors and hear the testimony of the saints of the most high God. Our race is being seen by a great "cloud of witnesses" who have gone before us. All of them were noted for their spiritual tenacity, and all of them survived the course set before them. All of them were tested, and all of them became stronger because of it. All of them were stretched, and all of them became more versatile through the process. Let them speak to your heart! Hear them as they confirm the effectiveness of perseverance, which develops godly character and trustworthiness.
Noah was tested when he was commanded to build an ark--a project that lasted over a century (Gen 6:14-22). Job was tried when asked to suffer above measure, and that without a sense of the Divine presence (Job 1-2). Abraham had his faith put to the test when he was asked to offer Isaac, his only son, to the Lord (Gen 22). Jacob was proved when he confronted his brother Esau, from whom he had, by Divine determination, gained the inheritance by trickery (Gen 33).
Joseph endured an extraordinary test when he was sold into slavery in Egypt, living there absolutely alone and oppressed, and without knowledge of their language (Gen 37-42; Psa 81:5). Who can forget the testing of Gideon, who was asked to deliver Israel with a small army and no weapons (Judges 6-7). Ezra was tested when he left Babylon without a military escort (Ezra 8:22). Daniel was tried when the government passed a law against him praying to the one true God (Dan 6). When Jesus was with us, he tested the faith of the Syrophenician woman by ignoring her pleas (Matt 15:21-28). Once there were two blind men that cried after Jesus. Their faith was tested when Jesus asked them if they believed He could heal them (Matt 9:28).
What excuse could you offer for fainting along the way? These saints are now comforted because they refused to quit! Let them encourage you to "Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually" (1 Chronicles 16:11, NASB). May their testimony provoke you to fulfill the Scripture; "Nevertheless the righteous shall hold to his way, And he who has clean hands shall grow stronger and stronger" (Job 17:9, NASB). May the Word of the Lord be fulfilled in you; "When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand" (Psalms 37:24, NASB). Take hold of the plow, and do not look back! Determine to have it said of you, "But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day" (Proverbs 4:18, NASB). The progression of the believer confirms participation in the Divine nature (2 Pet 1:4).
PRAYER POINT: Father, I thank You through Jesus for the record of previous saints. I desire to be classed with them in the great pilgrimage from earth to glory.
-- Tomorrow: THE NATURE OF THE NEW COVENANT --