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. James 1:12
Early this morning, on the way back from the gym, I shared with my son the lessons I learned from my dad. My dad is an extraordinary person. He exemplifies hard work and perseverance. Though he did not get a formal education, he made sure all his children are college graduates. His hard-work ethic has dramatically impacted my perspective about work and family.
Most people have lessons about hard work and perseverance they learned from their parents. Many of our parents may not have been as educated or affluent as many of us are, but the values and ethics they live by must be passed on from generation to generation. Our children must learn the value of perseverance and how to pass the test of life.
The most challenging test we will all face is spiritual. Our character, integrity, and faithfulness to God will be tested continuously. Our witness, as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, will be tested. The world will test our resolve to stay true to our faith in Jesus Christ and to our calling as disciple-makers. We will be tempted, or persecuted, or struck down, or rejected because of our decision to stand for Jesus.
Indeed, most believers will experience hardships and will be tempted to give up on God and themselves. However, James 1:12 encourages us to persevere under trial. What is it that drives a believer to persevere under trial? First, trust in God. Our God promised that he will always be with us and will not let us be defeated. Psalm 37:5-6 tells us, Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.”
As we go through the test of life, we have to trust that he will bring us out. Trust in God is a survival mechanism. It gives us the courage to persevere in trial and to hope amid hopeless circumstances.
Second, we have to pray. Both of my parents prayed fervently. Whenever I go to New Jersey to see my dad, he would always ask me to pray for him, despite his dementia. My dad always has a smile and a glow in his face after we prayed together. At times, he would even say, “now I feel better.”
Prayer has brought me through many hardships. Last week was a challenging time in my life. However, I prayed my way through my pain and brokenness; and by the end of the week, the joy of my salvation was restored.
Prayer gives us the language to express our frustration without losing our faith. It allows us to release our pain so we can receive power as God affirms our purpose. Prayer is the best medicine for a wounded soul.
Third, we have to continue to move forward. My dad worked twelve hours per day, rain, or shine. He was very active in church and helped to start two churches that are now very large congregations in New Jersey. My dad taught me a lot about starting a church with a few people and building it into a large congregation. He never took credit for his hard work and dedication. However, I know he will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Because of Jesus, you are I can persevere under trial. After all, we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37). We already have the victory as disciples of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gives us the courage to stand the test of time and be victorious in the name of Jesus. So whatever your circumstance, keep moving forward toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14)
Prayer- Blessed Lord, help us to persevere through the trial so that we can stand the test. May those who are burdened with the issues of life be encouraged to remain steadfast so they can receive their crown of life that you promised to those who love you.