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“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” -James 1:2-4

It’s a sore trial that I’m encountering. Not the sort where my faith is so assailed that I teeter on the brink of apostasy. No, friends, I will never renounce my faith in Jesus Christ. The trial here is this: How radically am I willing to be in obedience to the teachings and example of Jesus? Do I have what it takes to live His Word, even when everything within my soul screams in protest against it? Or will I compartmentalize His teachings, living some but ignoring those too hard or demanding for my comfort?

It is said that we are all on equal footing before the Cross. Sin is sin, and without exception we have all fallen short of God’s glory. Yet God’s love is demonstrated to us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ALL of us — including those who have so grievously wounded me and others I love. If He extends His forgiveness to such people, shouldn’t I do the same?

“Whoever would be My disciple,” the Rabbi says, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Master, where else can I go? You have the words of life. Though the road ahead looks daunting, I will go where you lead.