Day 2: James 1:12-15
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
This passage starts with the statement “blessed is the one who perseveres under trial.”
Naturally, we might think blessed people avoid challenges, live in nice houses, and have tons of disposable income. However the Bible encourages us to think of blessings in a broader sense. James teaches you are blessed when you endure and don’t give up when the going gets tough. I’ve found that to be true.
When we embark on the journey of following Jesus, or when we start serving on a new team, or start that new job, we begin with such a sense of purpose and passion. Our minds aren’t consumed by problems, or obstacles, but with an excited sense of what could be. This is not a bad thing, in fact, it’s an important part of the process.
Inevitably though, over the following weeks and months, challenges emerge, convictions get tested, criticism hits, and that passion that we started out with can be shaken. Lots of people give up on a good thing, because it seems like too much hard work or perhaps wasn’t what you expected. In the Christian journey, when we feel like this, there is one place we must run to and that is Jesus, because he is the restorer, who can breathe fresh life into our endeavours.
Remember though, the passage doesn’t say blessed are those who start out, it says blessed are those who persevere under a trial. There is no reward for dropouts, only for those who press on and complete the race. James 1:12 promises the crown of life to those who persevere and stand the tests put before us. Important note, God sometimes redeploys us from one thing to another, but whilst we have air in our lungs, he doesn’t retire us.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Verse 13 moves on with the theme of temptations. It reminds us that temptation does not come from God – that’s important to remember. In fact temptation comes from the evil desire within us. That may seem strong, but every Christian has a battle raging within us between sinful desire, and God’s plan.
What James is teaching us here is how quickly desire can give birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown it can give birth to death. That’s why we must go to God for help to live out God’s plan, and not our own plan.
My prayer today is for those contemplating giving up, or choosing a harmful path. I pray that God would restore your passion and grant you perseverance to move forward in strength.
Ps Dan Hoyle
Penrith Campus Pastor