Blessed are we who persevere under trials… what does that look like? How can we get there? Many of us feel like we are being crushed under trial, and today, James gives us some help to respond to trial in a different and better way…
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.
Trials abound. There are families separated. There is strife within families who are together where people disagree about how serious the virus is. Borders are shut down. Many people have to work in industries where they perceive they can be exposed. The reality is we are all at risk of exposure every day. COVID-19 is a trial with great spin-off.
James tells us that there is a crown of life for those who stand the test. This crown is for those who do not succumb to temptation. Which is fitting… Trials push us toward sin. Our response to trials is a response to temptation.
From within we get ideas to protect ourselves at the cost of others. We attack with words and dig into political loyalty over commitment to humanity. Our vices call us to take shelter in their comfort. Left to our own devices, trial has our number.
If we keep reading in James, we see a better way. The better way of Jesus sets us on a course to receive the crown of life. Our response to life and trial should be to go to God in faith (1:5) as the one who gives us every good and perfect gift (1:17). We are to be good listeners who receive and live out God’s word (1:19, 25). James closes this chapter with looking after orphans and widows in distress (1:27).
In other words, in close proximity to trial and temptation is the way out and the way above our trials. We can act differently within our situation to reflect the Lord Jesus, honouring him and showing him to the world…