Look at you! You made it through day 1 of our 30 day UMFAST like a champ. Today, you can expect cravings to kick in, so walk into the day with purpose and awareness. The mind is a tricky thing, don’t let it trip you up. You’ve got this!
James 1:2-4 MSG “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
Perspective is EVERYTHING. Look at this slave of God, James, encouraging us to shift our perspective. He actually says we should consider it a gift when tests and challenges come at us, and not just from one side, but from ALL SIDES. Sound upside down? That’s because it is. Let’s think about yesterday’s devotion and how it connects to this. A slave of God would not see things from his/her perspective, rather from the perspective of the Master. When you know the heart of the Father is always towards His children, then you understand that even difficulty is for your good.
Let’s consider the process of a diamond. A diamond, is only formed under pressure. Geologists explain that the natural diamond-creation process goes something like this:
- Carbon must be present deep in the Earth’s crust.
- Heat reaches about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Intense pressure of approximately 725,000 pounds per square inch is applied to the carbon.
- Diamonds rise to Earth’s surface to cool.
So…intense heat, an incredible amount of pressure, and then there’s the amount of time that it takes. Like billions of years. Now, I understand that our human life span is much shorter, which stands to reason that for us to be refined, we are going to experience great trials on all sides. This explains that “when it rains, it pours” feeling we have. Because in essence, this life is but a vapor. As the pressure comes, it forces our faith into the open and shows its true colors. It doesn’t take great faith to walk with God when everything is going the way we think it should go. Faith shines the brightest when like a diamond, it’s displayed against a black backdrop. Stick it out sister! So that you aren’t like the Christians who should be teaching others, but still need taught yourself! We want to be mature! We want to be well-developed, and the only way to assure that, is to embrace trials…not to run from them. Difficult seasons serve as invitations to draw nearer to the Lord. Remember this, deserts have a way of uncluttering the soul.
How often when we are in a difficult season or situation, do we consider staying to be our primary choice. Is it our natural tendency to avoid pressure and pain at all costs? Or when we are in it to try to figure out how to get out of it as quickly as possible? Maybe we are physically present, but check out spiritually or emotionally. I absolutely believe that we experience certain seasons over again, simply because we refused to stay. To learn what we were supposed to learn. To grow like we were supposed to grow. No one likes to be uncomfortable, but no one ever changed by being comfortable. Ever! I read an article the other day that said, “the way to master discomfort is to do it comfortably”. Sounds contradictory, but it’s not. It suggested we should purposely put ourselves in uncomfortable situations to help build up a tolerance for discomfort. It gave examples like…taking a cold shower, sleeping on the floor, underdressing for cold weather, or purposefully saying no to pleasurable situations. Interesting stuff! Today, when you find yourself in an impossible or uncomfortable situation, resist the urge to escape. Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to give you staying power. Allow the pressure to do its perfect work so that your faith becomes mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.