by Pastor Mark Jordan
“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.” (James 1:12, NIV)
Are you going through a trial right now? Not fun, is it? When we come upon such difficulties, the fight, flight, or freeze instinct kicks in. Based on your temperament and past experience, you are likely more inclined to do one over the other…fight, flee, or freeze. Which tends to describe you best?
Today’s verse reminds us of the importance of perseverance. The reality is that your ability to persevere increases over time with each challenge. Undoubtedly, you can look back over your life and see the times you fought when you should have fled; fled when you should have fought; or froze when you should have done one of the others. And that is okay, because we are marching on toward perfection, acknowledging we haven’t achieved it already (Philippians 3:12-14). The key is to trust God and seek the blessing and the lesson in each trial, because they are leading you closer to Him.
The Apostle Paul referenced this idea In Romans 5:3b-4 when he wrote, “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” He went on to write that hope does not disappoint, because it is always forward looking. And such as it is with God.
God wants you to look ahead to where He is at work, even when it might be challenging. He wants to bless you with the crown of life that comes from facing each trial in the manner worthy of your calling to follow Him, learning from the best as to what it means to fight when it’s time to fight, flee when it’s time to flee, or just be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Jesus Himself modeled each of these, and promises to lead, guide, and direct your steps when you trust Him, even when the going gets tough. Will you?
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for loving me. I ask for your wisdom, understanding, hope, joy, and peace when I come upon a challenge. Forgive me for the times I didn’t respond the way you want me to. I want to be like Jesus, and learn how to deal with each challenge that comes my way so I can receive the crown of life awaiting me. I pray this in His holy, healing, and helping name. Amen.