12 Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Trials. We fear them, try to ignore them, and have become expert in avoiding them. The oven is on the fritz, that medical issue keeps nagging at you, “that” co-worker keeps popping up. So, we find ways to escape. What can I watch? What can I eat or drink to bring myself comfort? If the trials remain, we engineer our way around them. “How can I make this problem go away?” “Why can’t someone else deal with this?”
James knew about trials. His brother Jesus—innocent of any crimes—died a horrific and criminal death on a cross. As a leader in the early church, James faced the death of Stephen and other early church members who were “dispersed abroad” to escape persecution. James himself was martyred for his beliefs, likely well aware of what was coming. With that in mind, let’s look at what James says about trials:
Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
First, notice what’s not there. We see no mention of “if” trials will come, but only “when.” This should bring you some comfort because 1) at least you know they’re coming! and 2) as believers in the body of Christ, we have the support of one another through trials. Here are three practical steps for how you can approach trials:
Step 1: Get some trials! Wait, what? Yes, this is true in a sense, but don’t worry, this one’s easy. We know that the trials will come to us because life is full of them. Start simply by asking God to prepare your heart to see them, rather than ignore or evade them. Pray that God would give you the strength to endure them when they come. Thank God for the blessing He has already given you on the other side of that trial.
Step 2: Endure your trials. How? Run into the Father’s loving arms. Show that you love Him by spending time with Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort. This is a chance to show your love for Jesus by enduring. Don’t miss it!
Step 3: Be blessed by the crown of life. As you endure, after you endure, receive God’s blessing. This blessing is not “happiness” as the world defines it, but “ultimate well-being and distinctive spiritual joy.” Know that God has a place for you in heaven, forever!
Questions to Ask Yourself
- When was the last trial I encountered? Did I evade or endure? Why?
- How can I pray to prepare my heart for the next trial?
- Do I look at earthly trials with a spirit of joy, knowing that my heavenly Father has given me a chance to love Him by enduring?
- Who else in your life is enduring trials right now? Can you encourage and comfort them by sharing God’s truth found in James 1:12?
41.6% of the people in the world have never encountered the gospel of Jesus Christ. They live in spiritual darkness and without eternal hope. Pray Matthew 9:38, for God to send workers to the harvest field.