James: Everyday Faith: Book Preview: Chapter 5

Day 5: Blessing in Trials 
(James 1:12)

When we think of blessings, we typically think of good things coming our way. If you have ever been on social media, you see people using #blessed. This hashtag is usually used with a picture of being at an awesome vacation spot, winning the state championship, or getting a promotion at work.  

We tend to assign blessings to something we perceive as positive that is going on in our own lives. We are blessed when something is going good and things are going our way, yet we feel less blessed if we find ourselves in the middle of a struggle or trial. 

When we look at James’ letter to the church, we see him redefining blessings for us… 

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”- James 1:12

The person who is blessed, according to James, is someone who has held up in the middle of a trial or difficulty in their life. When we look at trials and hardships in our lives, many times we see them not as a blessing but rather as a curse. 

We ask questions like: 

  • What did I do to deserve this? 
  • Why is this happening to me? 

We assume God is distant and far from the difficulty and the challenge we are facing. Yet according to James, we have a God who is not only present in our deepest and darkest moment of trial, but He is also giving us the strength to endure. 

When we find ourselves facing trials, it is easy for us to feel alone and lost in the world. James says we can be blessed through the trial if we “remain steadfast.” The idea of steadfast means we are “remaining or abiding.” In the middle of a trial when we feel like we have nothing to hold on to, James is telling us we should hold strongly onto Jesus. 

In the middle of our difficulty, we don’t know what is going to happen or what is around the corner, yet the invitation is to hang tightly onto Jesus. It is like a little kid in the pool with his dad. The kid lacks the ability to swim, understands the pool is much deeper than he is tall, and grips on to his dad if his very life depended on it.  

In the middle of trials, we are offered an opportunity to hold tight onto God. We know our own abilities aren’t enough to help us to navigate the trial. We don’t know the depths of the trial that stand in front of us. But we have a God who invites us to hold on for dear life. 

Not only are we given a steadfast God to hold steadfast too, James also promises us we will receive a reward for holding on. James says if we hold on during trials and struggles God will give us the crown of life. 

When James’s readers would read about the crown of life, they would likely picture a crown that looked more like a Christmas wreath than a Burger King crown. After an athlete would win a race, they would receive a wreath-like crown to mark their victory in the race.  

James said those who hold fast to Jesus in their own times of trial and difficulty would receive a crown of life. This is a crown that points to eternal life. The passage goes on to explain this is a promise from God for those people who love Him. 

As we seek to pursue and grow in our own love for God by trusting Him and holding onto Him even in times of difficulty and trial, we will live a blessed life. We will have the blessing of God’s faithful presence guiding us through the difficulties we face, and we will have the blessings of the life we were truly made for in eternity with Him.

So today, make the decision of who you are going to trust in difficult times. You may not be in a trial or difficulty in this moment, but you will one day find yourself lost in the middle of a difficult trial. In that moment, will you choose to hang on to Jesus? He will be faithful to you, and you will truly be blessed.


Response

  • When has God been faithful to you in a time of trial?
  • Who do you know who is currently going through a trial who you can pray for today?

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