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Guest Post: Suffering & Spiritual Maturity

By Dr. Kerry Kerr McAvoy
kerry

 

Devotional Three

 . . .but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-4

Military leaders know good soldiers are prepared for every possible contingency. They must be equipped to deal with sleep deprivation, hunger, inclement weather, and being under attack. This kind of readiness only comes when their men and women have been trained under stressful conditions.

We should not be surprised when we face the same kind of conditioning. As Paul reminds us, we are soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3). Trials and difficult circumstances strengthen our faith. Pain forces us to examine our beliefs and to discard anything shallow or immature.

We are urged to, “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. 

We are urged to, “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). I grew up singing hymns by Fanny Crosby. Fanny was blinded at a young age. She could have become an embittered, depressed person; instead, she wrote songs of joy and trust. One of my favorite songs of her music is “Blessed Assurance.” The third stanza begins with these words, “Perfect submission, all is at rest! I in my Savior am happy and blest.”1

A preacher once told Fanny it was a pity God didn’t return her sight. She responded that if she had been given the choice at birth, she would have asked for blindness. When asked why, she said, “Because, when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”2

James 1:2–4 warns us to expect trials. When we face painful circumstances, we are encouraged to consider it “pure joy” (James 1:2). Why? Because hardship develops spiritual maturity which equips us to do God’s work (Romans 5:3). After all, we are soldiers in God’s army.

  • Tell of a hardship that has tested your faith.
  • How did this circumstance affect you spiritually?
  • How can you become more like Fanny Crosby who saw her disability as a blessing?

Prayer
Dear God, You are clear in your word that trials will come. Please don’t let me become bitter from such experiences. Make me more like Fanny Crosby. I want to trust you in all circumstances.

Optional Reading
2 Timothy 2:3–5
Hebrews 12:1–3

Worship Song
“Your Hands” • Painted Red • J.J. Heller


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1Crosby, Fanny. Blessed Assurance. 1873.
2American Sunday-School Union. The Sunday-School World, Vol 40, Issue 8, 1900.

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2 Comments

  1. AlphaWomanofGod

    Thank you for breaking these scriptures down the way that you did. I am studying some of these scriptures right now and God is blessing my life with much peace and contentment with these words. Thank you again!

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