“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”
– James 1:12 NLT
When it comes to handling trials and temptations, we usually look for a pronto answers instead of patient acceptance.
When there is pain, we run to self-medicate. When there are problems, we self-solve. When there are pressures, we self-sooth. If it gets too much to handle, we let go . . . accepting a passive role instead of embracing responsibility.
James tells us there is “blessing” from God when we hang in there and not give up, give in or get out. He reminds us, “when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NLT)
Patient Endurance. Our first response to patient endurance is not “Oh no . . . Not again”, but “Ok . . . What can I gain”. Every challenge is a chance to grow. Patience endurance leads to persistence encouragement. Paul encourages the Christ-followers in Corinth, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Cor 10:13 NLT). We’re not alone, we are able to handle it and a solution is available.
Promises Crown. The word used for “crown” is stephanos, which can also refer to a “reward” or “laurel wreath.” In the original Greek Olympics, the winner of the sporting contests was honored with a laurel crown. Just as a runner perseveres through the difficulties of the race so that he might reach the finish line and receive the reward, Jesus is waiting to put a crown of life upon our head when we reach the finish line after persevering through pain, problems and persecution. Jesus promise and presence provides us peace in our problems. Jesus comforts us, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NLT)
Keeping our eyes on Christ Jesus keeps our eyes off of our challenges. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (Heb12:2 NLT)
Be patient and keep your eyes in the prize.