As we approach another New Year’s Eve, the thoughts of resolutions jump out in my mind. With each year that passes and each devotion that I write, I find myself going back to the same old ideas that seem so easy to write, yet so difficult to live.
As I write this week I am awaiting the arrival of 11 high school players today and 10 more on Saturday. We are beginning another ROCK’em Road Trip. This time involves teams playing games and working with their coaches and chaperons.
One of the chaperons is also a personal trainer. She will only be with us through Sunday because simply put, next week is her biggest business week of the year. Think about it; people are going to pay her to cause them pain. These folks will be willing for a week or two or three to endure stiff muscles and aching joints; all because they have their eyes on an end goal that requires this. You know the mantra: “No pain, no gain!” (Yet many will waver in their efforts as the end goal loses its importance to them.)
This week I want to simply remind us to look forward to the next year with a little different slant. Yes, I know it is customary to desire health and prosperity for the new year; but what about desiring trials? I know that sounds weird but if you want to grow this year then you must endure the fire.
James 1: 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Did you get that? If you want to be “perfect and complete, lacking nothing” then you must face trials.
Let’s quickly examine a couple of things that I find here (and the preacher I listened to yesterday that stirred my thinking. Thanks David!)
When it says to “count it” or to “consider it” the words literally mean to look forward to the end result – what is your goal? I mentioned earlier that folks will give up on their workouts when the goal loses its importance. So what is the proper goal to look forward to in our Christian lives?
If we listen to the typical mantra for health and prosperity it all revolves around the physical comforts of life. And these verses that make promises of perfection and lacking nothing could be twisted to say such. Yet that is not at all what it is talking about because if it were then the very Apostles themselves missed the promises. Their lives were by no means comfortable and easy.
The end goal of the Christian life should be holiness, Godly character, peace, and contentment. The end goal should revolve around the very promises of the heavenly host that reminded us at Christ’s birth that we could have joy and peace.
For the next year I have to tell you that I hope you have trials – I hope you grow! As I bring in the new year with 21 high school basketball players I hope to have patience – yet that comes from trials (which I am sure they will provide for me!)