“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.” ~James 1:2-3 NIV
The word “trials” in these verses is from the Greek word peirasmos, which means a test of a person’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy, etc. We westerners thing of them as “temptations” but it means the things in life that test and prove whether or not you’re really faithful, whether or not you really are virtuous. The tests. And James tells us that the testing (proving) of our faith PRODUCES….
Now that is an interesting word! It means “works out” or “accomplishes” but an even better way of looking at it is that tests “work down to the end-point, to an exact, definite conclusion; bring to decisive finality”–in other words the tests are a guarantee to bring PERSEVERANCE.
Again, there’s another interesting word! What is perseverance? It comes from the Greek word hupomoné and it to “endure under”… so in other words, the ability to endure under the tests that God allots in life. In other words it’s the patient characteristic of a person who is unswerved from their deliberate purpose and their loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest tests and temptations.
So the author is telling us that when we face the various tests of life, we are to consider the test as JOY–the awareness of God’s grace and favor–because proving is guaranteed to result in the ability to patiently endure under the tests and not swerve from our deliberate purpose and loyalty to God and living in His Love.
Now taking this verse to heart while in the middle of dealing with an affair can be TOUGH! I mean, how can you “count it all joy” when you are betrayed by the one you love, right? Bear in mind the verse doesn’t say we have to FEEL joy, but rather that we should be aware that when God sends a test our way, it is evidence of His grace and favor. The aim of the test , even if it is a hard, painful test, is for you to more intimately know His love and how to live in His love…and to grow closer to HIM and more like Him.
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” ~John 8:31-32 NKJV
The Greek word for “abide” that Jesus uses here literally means to “remain,” “stay,” or “wait.” So, Jesus is telling believers to remain in God’s Word, letting it soak into their minds and shape their lives. But what is there to wait for? The writer of Hebrews talks about waiting, only he calls it “faith.” “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for,” he writes, “the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The apostle Paul also talks about waiting, only he calls it “hope.” Speaking of the hope of our redemption, and ultimate glorification as sons of God, he says, “Hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:23-25).
So often we humans, in our frailty, will look at the world around us and “abide” in what we see: hurt, pain, death… and our mind isn’t soaked in faith or hope. I think Jesus is telling us here that we we like our minds be soaked in God’s promises and patiently wait, knowing they will come, then we will see the truth that the hurt, pain, and death are temporary and not the salvation God intends for us. We’ll be free from the fear of what we see, and instead the way we live will reflect the truth that we know: God’s promises ARE true.
If you are wrestling with an affair in your marriage, it is critical to “abide” in God, wait patiently for His will, and remember faith and hope. It may not be that your marriage will survive, but if you “abide” God promises to be with you every step. Don’t look at the hurt and pain and loss all around you–instead let God’s word soak into your mind and live your life reflecting what you know is true.
“…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” ~2 Corinthians 5:19-20 NIV
Did you notice it? I did–these two verses repeat that word ‘reconciliation’ or ‘reconciled’ so it must be important!
The Greek word here is katallassōn, katallagēs, and katallagēte–you can tell all from the same root word, and at its core it means “to change down to an exact point.” That doesn’t sound much like our English definition of reconciliation, does it? Yet this word has a connotation of DECISIVE change, from enmity to friendship, down to even the smallest detail…going from a position of angry to receiving favor. In 2 Cor. 5:20 Paul uses the same word when he describes a woman returning to harmony with her husband.
So…Paul implores us to be the elder diplomats who proclaim the message: return to harmony with God. Now my question is how am I being an elder and living that message? Do my actions and words testify to the message of reconciliation to God?
When there has been an affair, people often throw around that word ‘reconciliation.’ Some will immediately tell you to leave the Disloyal on the spot; others may encourage you to reconcile no matter what abuse has occurred. But looking at this verse, it seems clear to me that whether the marriage is reconciled or not, the first and main reconciliation with which we need to be concerned is a DECISIVE change…from discord with God to harmony. He chooses us, and He reconciles us–we can’t assist in any way–but His love is such that He wants us to be made right with Him.
Thus, focus there first. If your marriage is in disarray due to an affair, I implore you as a messenger to return to harmony with God. Return to living the life He wants you to lead. Return to reading the Bible and prayer, and return to living in a Christ-like way as a response to His love for you.