I can’t help but smile when I hear the contemporary saying, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade!” It’s a nice idea, so long as you have a good supply of sugar and water available to moderate the biting sourness of the lemons. Sometimes though, we give what we think is our best and our problems don’t get any sweeter. What then? Imagine finding a necklace of faith adorned by seven “jewels.” Now, consider the wisdom of ll Peter 1:3, 5-7 as those “jewels” represent the “lemons” in life that have been transformed into an out-of-this-world beauty:
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us . . . . For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
Looking at our bejeweled “necklace” I find it interesting that “perseverance” is in the center of the seven “jewels”. Do you wonder why? My theory is that it takes continued effort and determination (perseverance) in applying goodness, knowledge, self-control, godliness, brotherly kindness and (last but not least) love to transform the sourness of life’s challenges to an authentic faith. When we are ready to give up, God says, “My child, trust Me and keep going!”
In the Counseling Room we refer to perseverance as, the “P-Word” because it is the last thing we want to hear when we are discouraged and want to quit! Even so, the “P-Word” is exactly what we need to encourage us to rely on God’s divine power and strength. Only then can we discover the blessing that He has waiting for us. James 1: 3b-4 reveals our bottom line incentive,
” . . . the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
If you look at the context of James you will see that God tests our faith not to tempt but to strengthen it. Our faith is strengthen as we persevere under the pressure of trials and God’s ultimate goal is worked out in us: spiritual maturity and completeness that reflect Christ’s holiness in our lives.
Are you facing a situation that appears hopeless? Perhaps, you are dealing with someone with a sour disposition that has driven you to despair? Believe me when I say that I know what that is like!!!!!!! But consider this: God offers us more than lemonade to quench our thirst, to heal our weariness and give us strength. As He urges us to persevere in our trials our Shepherd also calls us to come . . .
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
The key to embellishing your necklace of faith with such jewels as goodness, self-control, love (and all the rest) requires, not that you resolve your problems in your own strength. Instead, He calls us to persevere in trusting and honoring Him as HE uses the “lemons” in life to complete us as well as to impact others.
Making lemonade? Not this time around!
All to His Glory!