Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Give Me Some Hupomone

James 1:3 tells us that the testing of our faith produces hupomone (pronounced with a long "e"; hoop-o-mon-e). The ESV translates this word as "steadfastness", which is a good, solid rendering of the word, except for that fact that it is an outdated word in our time. The NIV almost completely strips the word of its intended force by translating it as "patience". This is far too passive of a rendering of the intended meaning of this word. Hupomone is not simply the ability to bear or endure something. It is the ability to endure "various kinds of trials" (James 1:2), you know the unexpected, unwelcome sudden intrusions of life that shake our faith to the core, and turn them, with the help of the Spirit, into greatness and glory. We are told that what amazed the heathen in days of persecution as they executed Christian martyrs was that they did not die grimly. They did not beg for their lives. They embraced flames, two-edged swords and saws with singing. This is biblical steadfastness. It is the ability, by God’s power and grace, to take a trial watch God turn it into an opportunity for His glory to be revealed as we embrace our trials with faith in the reality that Jesus is using it to make us more into His image - even in death.


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