So, the other day I posted on Longings, Set-backs, and 3 Keys to Small Victories. It was about goals and next steps and cheerleaders, but mostly it was about perseverance.
Perseverance is an ugly word in my vocabulary because it involves another “p word” I hate – patience. Perseverance and patience are both “growing edges” in my life. That’s the nice way of saying I stink at both, and God has His work cut out for Him.
This is where Scripture comes in. I’ve been trying to memorize a passage on patience and perseverance.
I think I’ve mentioned Scripture Typer before. It’s a great Scripture memory app. Lately I’ve been using it to help me memorize James 1:1-5. Actually “lately” might be stretching it. I’ve been working on it lately, but also for a looooong time. Don’t mock, you mockers.
In case you haven’t memorized this one, here it is:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Anyway, I’ve really been getting in the groove…my little fingers scurrying across the keys, typing THE WORDS, faster, faster, faster.
So today I’m blitzing along, trying to check “MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE” off my To-do list so I can get back to all the maddening REAL stuff I’m trying to persevere and power through.
Then Bam! The Holy Spirit clonks me on the head.
The words have just become white noise.
I’ve gotten so caught up in the MEANS, that I’ve forgotten the END. I’m madly typing words, but not reading them into my life. My goal has become “getting it right and improving my time” instead of “transforming into someone who looks more like Jesus.” You know…like “mature and complete, not lacking anything” (like not lacking patience).
Note to self: Don’t memorize Scripture to memorize Scripture.
I stop and read the passage again – listening, really listening for the words the Holy Spirit wants to emphasize in my life.
The verbs jump out at me: consider, know, ask.
- So…. James doesn’t say “you will automatically feel all the delightful feelings of joyful abandon and do a happy dance when you face trials”. “Consider it” – choose your attitude.
- Remember what you “know” – God’s purpose in all the frustrations of life is transformation. This is not the end of the story.
- And it doesn’t say we do this alone. It says “ask God”.
So God is doing His work in us to transform us, but we have a part too. We choose, we work, we wait, we pray.
And we memorize Scripture, but we listen as we do.
What’s a “trial” you’re facing today that requires perseverance? Press on!