Review: No one is exempt from trials. Whether poor or rich, each is to depend on and rest in the Lord.
Today’s Focus— James 1:12
- A Call for Believers to Persevere— A compound word in the Greek, “to persevere” or to remain steadfast literally means “to stay under” or “to remain” (to not flee under misfortune or trials). Figuratively, it means “to undergo or to have fortitude, to abide, to endure, to patiently suffer or endure testing.” Consider the athlete, as an example, who keeps on, holding fast until he finishes. Thus, to persevere is to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ.
- The one who remains steadfast under trial is “blessed”—same root word in Matthew 5 where Christ uses the word “blessed” repeatedly. Question: how can one be happy when one has to endure trials or ill treatment or perhaps injustice? Although It may be reasonable in our minds to rejoice in the context of a mother in labor or of an athlete nearing the finish line, to rejoice when suffering, humanly speaking, is counter to our natural inclinations or capabilities. Nevertheless, in the context of the passage we are studying, this rejoicing is with respect to facing persecution for one’s faith in Christ. See Matthew 5:10-11. There is great reward in heaven for the ones who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; therefore, we are called to “rejoice and be glad.” See also 2 Cor.12:7-10 “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses (insults, hardships, persecutions, calamities), so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” The focus is not only the end reward but also on the intimacy that believers experience and enjoy, as God enables and provides them with His daily sufficient grace.
- Trials in the believer’s life are meant to test his faith to produce steadfastness, the full effect of which is maturity (James 1:4). See Jude 1:24, which reminds us that He “is able to keep [the believer] from stumbling and to present [him] blameless…”
- The promise to those who “has stood the test” is “the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him”— See other references to “crowns” (1 Cor.9:25, 1 Thess 2:19, 2 Tim 4:8, 1 Peter 5:4). In the original, the article “the” is present. The better translation would be “the crown of the life,” meaning that eternal life itself is the crown.
The believer is never alone in his journey. God enables the believer to remain steadfast under trial, granting him a daily supply of His grace. Never think for a moment that you are alone.
Were it not for grace I can tell you where I'd be Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere With my salvation up to me I know how that would go The battles I would face Forever running but losing this race Were it not for grace
We are saved by God’s grace, kept by God’s grace, able to persevere by God’s grace.
I've had many tears and sorrows, I've had questions for tomorrow, there's been times I didn't know right from wrong. But in every situation, God gave me blessed consolation, that my trials come to only make me strong. Through it all, through it all, I've learned to trust in Jesus, I've learned to trust in God.Through it all, through it all, I've learned to depend upon His Word.I've been to lots of places, I've seen a lot of faces, there's been times I felt so all alone. But in my lonely hours, yes, those precious lonely hours, Jesus lets me know that I was His own Through it all, through it all, I've learned to trust in Jesus, I've learned to trust in God.
Listen to the sermon here.