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
In the first few verses of James, we are told about the purpose of trials - they are to grow us and strengthen us in our faith. Trials produce endurance as they test our faith, and are part of God’s plan to perfect us. James expands on this idea in verse 12. Our trials demonstrate the perseverance and demonstrate whether our faith is genuine.
Anyone can repeat the words of the sinner’s prayer and claim salvation as their own. It isn’t the words that save us, it’s the changing of the heart - and this isn’t so readily apparent when we first say the words. Our response when things get tough, when the challenges of life hit, is where our faith is truly demonstrated. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven. Just because we say the words doesn’t mean we have given Him our hearts. It is in the trials that our faith is demonstrated, they are an opportunity to see if our faith is genuine.
If we have truly repented and given our lives over to Jesus Christ, when the challenges of life happen, we know where to turn for wisdom, strength and comfort. We trust that what He allows into our lives is for the ultimate good of the Kingdom, even if it doesn’t make sense in the moments. We cling to His promises that He is sovereign over all and He will provide a way through the trial.
It doesn’t mean we engage in the trial with a smile on our face, or that we’re dancing though the challenges - the pain in our trials is real, and it’s going to drag us down at times. It doesn’t mean that we won’t falter in our thinking or that we will respond perfectly in every situation - He is using our trials to show us the places in our hearts that are not completely surrendered to Him. It does mean we continually lean in and work to capture every thought and make it obedient to Christ. It means we get into His Word daily and allow our eyes to be opened to His truths.
In the end, we demonstrate our love for Him through our surrender. I want to hear, “well done, good and faithful servant” as He places the crown of life on my head, so even when it’s hard and it doesn’t make sense, I’m going to continue to allow Him to do the work in my life that He feels is necessary. I know I cannot see my heart with my own eyes - I need Him to reveal my sin to me. Each difficult challenge in my life has done just that, and as I lay down my plan and ask for forgiveness for the sins He has revealed - my pride, my control, my self-focus - He shows me the way through my trial and strengthens my faith.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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