What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger?



November 17, 2021

James 1:2-4 (NIV)

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Recapping yesterday: Our faith is being tested by the world, the flesh and the Satan—all the time. We need to restate our words aloud from yesterday:

This is a testing of my faith.

Now back to our question: How does this work? Just how does the testing of our faith produce perseverance? The test creates the opportunity for Jesus to transcend and transform our lives. Perseverance does not come from us. It comes from God. I would press through the words, transcend and transform into the word “transfuse.” Transfusing—now there’s a word I have never used in the Daily Text, but I sensed it was the word. I looked it up. 

The first definition relates to blood and the obvious connection to a blood transfusion; which itself has interesting implications when it comes to Jesus. The second definition is the bingo: To cause (something or someone) to be permeated or infused by something. i.e. 
“we became transfused by a radiance of joy”

I don’t know about you, but the fireworks are going off for me. To cause to pass from one person to another sounds like Jesus very words when he said, “Abide in me and I will abide in you.” 

It gets really interesting when we get to the origins of the word. Check this out:

“Late Middle English (in the sense ‘cause to pass from one person to another’): from Latin transfus- ‘poured from one container to another’, from the verb transfundere, from trans- ‘across’ + fundere ‘pour’.”

More fireworks—To pour from one container to another—to pour across—evokes all the imagery of the Holy Spirit being poured out on the Day of Pentecost and thereafter. 

Transfusing. This is how the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Jesus causes his life to pass from his person into your person through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit into your spirit. 

For the longest time, here’s how I thought this process worked. 1. I face a trial. 2. I ask God to help me. 3. I ask people to pray for me. 4. I do my best to get through it, having faith that God is helping me. 5. I eventually get through it, giving God the glory, thanks and praise. 

In this equation, faith seems to be my belief that God is helping me get through the trial. That doesn’t much feel like transfusing does it? It feels more like God helps those who help themselves. It feels like religious self-help. 

Here’s the transfusion question: What if Jesus actually wants to come into your core person and take over your life? What if he’s not so much looking for “help me God” prayers but “have me Jesus prayers?” What if Scripture really means it when it says, “I no longer live but Christ lives in me?” What if—the testing of your faith produces perseverance—doesn’t actually mean “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” What if it means the testing of your faith leads to Jesus, himself, through the Holy Spirit, persevering in and through your life? What if it means the death of the false self and the resurrection of the true self which is the transfusion of Jesus into your whole self, body, mind and spirit? That would be something akin to “pure joy” wouldn’t it? That would be indefatigable hope wouldn’t it? That would be breathtaking love wouldn’t it? 

This is precisely why our faith needs to be tested, so we can graduate from a spiritualized version of “I think I can,” to a meek, poor in spirit, “I know I can’t,” to a sturdy, surrendered, and confident, “I know Jesus in me will.” The testing of our faith leads us from faith as “believing in something,” to faith as “surrendering to someone.” 


Father, I want to believe this is true, but I have gone so long without really believing it I wonder if I can make the leap. It is just easier to keep it at arms length, with you helping me on my terms, and me taking it from there. Lord Jesus, I sense you really do want me to belong to you and yet I hold back. I know the testing of my faith produces perseverance, but I need to know it at a whole new level—beyond what I used to think. Come Holy Spirit and bring me into a whole-hearted surrender, the kind that leads to the transfusing of your life into mine; all the time. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 


How are you seeing the difference between a “transfused” perseverance and a “gut it out” kind of perseverance?  


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For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.


  1. J.D., Thank you for this lesson on “transfusion “. I find it so confirming of total submission/total allegiance to Christ Jesus. We have so many hymns/praise songs which echo this same thought. You have presented to us in such a way that it makes impossible to ignore.