Who Remain Steadfast Under Trial

James 1:2-4 ESV

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

What kinds of trials are you presently facing? We all have them. Some of them are huge and some of them are minor, and they aren’t all the same. Some are long lasting and never go away while others are short lived, and so we are relieved when they are finally past. Some trials are more personal in nature while others are more general, i.e. they are things most all people go through from time to time. But whatever the trial is, it is still a trial.

But we are to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds. Now that can be difficult to do, can’t it? But I don’t think it is saying that we are not to cry or feel sorrow or grieve. Even the small trials are not easy or they wouldn’t be called trials. Trials involve pain and suffering. They are difficult. Some are very complicated. They are challenging and they put our faith to the test. And some of them may produce many tears.

Now what came to mind here is a passage of Scripture in Hebrews 12 where it reads: “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

And this: “Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’ And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:38-39).

Jesus Christ felt the pain of his suffering and he was very sorrowful, even to the death, and he prayed to the Father, if it be possible, that this cup of suffering might pass from him, and yet he submitted to the will of the Father. And yet it was for the joy that was set before him that he endured the cross, and that joy is the salvation of human souls (human lives). So if Jesus can be sorrowful and yet endure for the joy set before him, we can, too. We can endure unjust suffering for the joy of what God has planned for our lives, in his sovereignty, and for how he is going to use us, too.

And what our Lord has planned for our trials is that the testing of our faith would produce steadfastness of spirit within us in our walks of faith in obedience to our Lord and in submission to the will of God for our lives. And this is also that, via these trials and our correct responses to them that we may become mature and complete in Christ, lacking in nothing. That is the ultimate goal, our maturity, and that we would learn to rely on God and not on ourselves and that we will trust him fully with our lives.

And it is so that God can then use us in the lives of other people, Christians or non-Christians. For as we mature in our walks of faith through our trials we become more like Jesus, we take on more of his character, we feel more of his heart and passion, and we care more deeply about the things he cares about. And then we share with others what we are learning through our trials and our experiences to help them as they go through similar trials. And the main thing is to learn to trust our lives into God’s capable hands.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

James 1:12 ESV

“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.”

Blessed is the Christian man or woman who remains steadfast under trial. We are blessed who believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, who are daily by the Spirit putting the deeds of the flesh to death and who are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. We are blessed of God who walk in obedience to his ways and who are no longer walking (in conduct, in practice) in deliberate sin. We are blessed because Jesus died for us that we might die with him to sin and live righteously.

We are blessed because Jesus Christ loved us enough to give his life up for us so that we can be crucified with him in death to sin and be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We are blessed to have the Spirit of God living within us teaching us the ways of the Lord, instructing us in what is right and warning us against all evil. And we are blessed that he empowers us to live holy and righteous lives, too, for the glory and praise of God.

We are blessed in so many different ways because of what God did for us on that cross and because, by his grace, he called us to be his followers. And involved in being his followers is suffering for righteousness’ sake that we might become more like Jesus and that he might use us in the lives of others to help them to become more like Jesus. And when we have stood the test, when our final days are done, we will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love (obey) him. Amen!

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

Songwriters: Cordelia J. Whiteside Bridgewater, 1920 / Andy Pickens Bland

We read of a place that’s called heaven,
It’s made for the pure and the free;
These truths in God’s word He has given,
How beautiful heaven must be.

In heaven no drooping nor pining,
No wishing for elsewhere to be;
God’s light is forever, there shining,
How beautiful heaven must be.

The angels so sweetly are singing,
Up there by the beautiful sea;
Sweet chords from their gold harps are ringing,
How beautiful heaven must be.

How beautiful heaven must be
Sweet home of the happy and free;
Fair haven of rest for the weary,
How beautiful heaven must be

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