“What makes authentic disciples is not visions, ecstasies, biblical mastery of chapter and verse, or spectacular success in the ministry, but a capacity for faithfulness.”
Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin Gospel
It was a bad day.
There was a sick husband and daughter, a flat tire, a bill coming in twice as much as expected (and my initial estimate was already gagging me), an infestation of fruit fleas, a broken camera we've owned for only a month, lots of tears and angry words and a very bad reaction on my part.
After all that, I sat down to work on preparations for Bible study, hours later than planned, the bad feelings still simmering, irritated I had been pulled away from it so long. I cracked open our new study book and read:
But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercises lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.
And the tears came. I'd exercised plenty of judgment, but not enough lovingkindness and righteousness. I tried, but I couldn't comprehend anything I read after those words.
Who am I to lead Bible study? I can't keep my own family happy. I'd written down verses on trust that very morning, but couldn't recall them throughout the day. I aggravated an already bad situation by thinking worldly instead of eternally. I completely messed things up. I'm no model Christian, no leader at all.
But God says in James 5:11, As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. Not those who have acted perfectly. Not those with spotless houses and saintly children and beautiful lesson plans for Bible study. Not those who have a Bible verse on the tip of their tongue for any and every situation.
Those who have persevered.
Since I'm kind of a wimp, my opportunities to persevere are plentiful. That verse gives me hope. It goes on to say, You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
If I hang in there, I can experience God's compassion and mercy. If I am faithful, I am a servant like Job or Abraham or Moses. Being faithful to Him this day meant making things right with my kids. It meant putting on heavenly eyes instead temporary ones. It required me to apologize even when I didn't feel like it. I am His authentic disciple not when I am perfect, but when I persevere through trials and remain faithful to Him.
Now it's YOUR turn. What are your thoughts? Link up here.
Photo Credit: gwen