2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV
I saw a sticker of verse 4 of this chapter in James while I was on a holiday rush to the supermarket. I have read and even studied the book of James last year but that morning, the verse had a profound effect on me. I paused trying to let the verse simmer in my heart. Let perseverance finish its work…
Last year, I found this short devotional called “One Word That Will Change your Life” and took the challenge. DISCIPLINE. was my word then and I was able to train myself to practice discipline 🙂 I improved in my daily reading of the word, in writing more consistently on the blog, and in studying and completing the leadership course my husband and I took three years ago. The Lord knew there was going to be a lot of studying that was why He chose the word discipline for me 🙂
I continued to contemplate on the word perseverance days following that quick reminder. Although, another word came to mind, COMMITMENT, which was also good but the previous word kept popping in most of my readings. I had to ask the Lord, “Lord, Is this the character trait you want me to develop this year?” And so it was, PERSEVERANCE was going to be my One Word for 2016.
What is perseverance? I love how Vocabulary.com defines the word. Perseverance is not giving up. It is persistence and tenacity, the effort required to do something and keep doing it till the end, even if it’s hard.
Does this definition scare me? Not at all. I’ve seen difficult days, had given up and lost hope. I regret giving in to thoughts of defeat and failure. All those shoulda-coulda-wouldas haunted me but I can’t undo those decisions anymore. This year, however, I want to stand strong. I want to live by the truth that difficulties I faced in the past and will continue to encounter this year were shaped to fit me. Each trial is calculated by God. He allows me to go through trouble because He knows it will be beneficial to me and the people I encounter daily. It should not bring me down but push me to strive harder, make a U-turn, change plans and be better.
There was a plan last year to purchase a major item for the family. My husband and I were all set but the Lord made us face the facts and told us No, not yet. We were both disappointed and felt a bit hopeless. But it’s all good, actually. That awareness personally plucked me out of my complacency and led me to focus on the opportunities that are already before me:
To persevere in our small business and finally bid adieu to my profession. To persevere in my writing and to use the blog as my platform to give encouragement to women. To work hard more to pursue the plans we have for the family and for myself.
That is probably why perseverance is my One Word for 2016! Now that I am pumped, I have to keep moving, keep going. Even if the process is difficult, time-consuming, and exhausting, I must carry on. Will you cover me with your prayers this year as I tread on the path the Lord has set before me and my family? Pray that the Lord will direct our hearts to God’s love and Christ’s perseverance (2 Thessalonians 3:5) May I persevere the way Jesus persevered while He was doing God’s will for the world.
Likewise, my prayer to you is found in Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Have a Christ-centered 2016 everyone!