The blacksmith placed the iron into the fire. Once it was glowing red-hot, he used his tongs to remove it, and he struck it repeatedly with a hammer. Then...
Back into the fire until glowing...
Countless blows from the hammer...
Only to return to the fire once more.
Fire and hammer, fire and hammer — the blacksmith did this again and again until, at last, his work was complete. From a shapeless piece of iron he had fashioned a perfect horseshoe.
I love this image because it so perfectly captures the work God does to mold our character and make us more like Jesus. That message certainly seems to be what James was communicating in the first few verses of his book.
James wrote to Christians who were going through difficult times, and he had a radical message for them. He told his readers to consider their trials “pure joy” because the fire of adversity was the very tool God used to forge perseverance in their lives.
Most of us are familiar with the word perseverance. Maybe it makes you think of someone who keeps going even when the path gets rough or someone who stays on their diet all the way through the holidays. Both examples do show perseverance, but the Greek gives us a little more insight. In the original language of James 1:3, the word translated perseverance means “cheerful, or hopeful endurance; constancy.”
- It is one thing to keep going no matter what; it is something far more beautiful to do so cheerfully and hopefully.
Are you going through a hard time today? You can safely trust that even though the fire of adversity is hot, your loving Savior holds you securely in His hand. He will be forever faithful to His work in your heart, endeavoring to bring forth cheerful, hopeful endurance in you.
And that truth, James reminds us, is reason for pure joy.
God is with you and for you — He’s making something beautiful in you!
Five Minutes in the Word
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. — James 1:2-4
He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. — Philippians 1:6 ESV
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this He called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. — 2 Thessalonians 2:13–14 ESV
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. — James 5:7
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. — Romans 12:12
Excerpted with permission from 5 Minutes with Jesus: A Fresh Infusion of Joy by Sheila Walsh, copyright Sheila Walsh.
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Are you in hot circumstances today? God is at work and He will not turn His back on you! Something good, something beautiful is being allowed in your life because He loves you so much! That is a reason for joy. Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily