Summary: Learn Patience.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Today, we are in the midst of a time where everybody is trying to get in shape...trying this diet and this exercise program. There seems to be a fixation with making our outer appearance more attractive (to whomever). Don’t get me wrong; I, too, believe that exercising is good and good for you. However, I also realize that "bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:8); thus we find ourselves at the crux of this message, God’s "Wait Training."
First, we must determine the goal of our exercise program; there are typically three areas of concentration in a good exercise program: 1) Strength; 2) Endurance; and lastly, 3) Shaping. Additionally, any good exercise program must be accompanied by the proper diet, and if a diet is to be effective, you must watch what you eat and be consistent. If we, as Christians, were to take these same concepts into consideration, it would cause us to exercise our faith in areas we have not ventured to try in the past and be mindful of what we allow to enter into our ears...eyes...and spirits. Amen? Amen; I’m just talking about "wait training."
Saints of God, we have prayed for strength and asked the Lord to help us endure, but as soon as the trials come, we tend to buckle at our knees. Well, I stopped by to encourage and motivate you to trust God. Don’t give up on the program. I know you get tired sometimes, but know that God "giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength" (Isaiah 40:29). "Hallelujah!" somebody! Just stay in the "Gym" -- the Household of Faith -- the Church. Sure! There will be some exercises that you have not tried before, and yes...they will cause you to be sore in some areas of your life that you did not know could be tried. You may have to endure pain for just a moment, but do you know that trouble don’t last always? Be encouraged in knowing that "they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31). Your trials come just to make you strong. You may not see results right away, but "if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it" (Romans 8:25). Knowing this, I admonish you; in the midst of your struggles...in the midst of your trials and tribulations, "fear thou not; for [God is] with thee: be not dismayed; for [He is] thy God: [He] will strengthen thee; yea, [He] will help thee; yea, [He] will uphold thee with the right hand of [His] righteousness" (Isaiah 41:10). God is our Personal Trainer, and He’s going to complete the work He has begun in each of us. Besides, "for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17). You want to be stronger in the Lord? You have to increase the "wait." Say, "Amen!" somebody!
Most of us have heard, at some point in time, that "the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong" (Ecclesiastes 9:11); but rather, as Matthew 24:13 says, "he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Too often -- particularly in the "Gym," we find ourselves quitting or giving up on our "exercise program" before our Personal Trainer has given us the "OK." We want the prize without the pressure. We want the glory without the tribulation. We want the victory without the race or the battle. We want the crown without the cross. Well, I have learned to (and often have to remember to) "take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10). Our Personal Trainer has already given us a training plan; He said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). He further says, "whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27). In this "Army of the Lord," we must "endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Timothy 2:3).
If we were to reflect on the text scripture, it would bring us to an understanding of shaping or being shaped. What are you talking about, Minister Jackson? I’m glad you asked. I’m talking about knowing... I’m talking about the trying of your faith building patience. I’m talking about strength building. I’m talking about letting patience have her perfect work. Now, that’s talking about building endurance. Amen? I’m not finished, yet. I’m talking about waiting until you become perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Now, that’s shaping. Say "Amen!"