– James 1:12
Trials Produce Perseverance
James, the half-brother of Jesus and the early leader of the church at Jerusalem, wanted to encourage the church due to the severe persecution they had been experiencing. So he wrote that whoever perseveres under trials will receive the crown of life if they stand the test, or if they endure the trials. James is not saying if they don’t persevere they’ll be lost but only that they will receive a special crown: the crown of life. God declares in His Word that “the LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence” (Psalm 11:5).
Products of Suffering
The Apostle Paul tells us to “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5). It’s as if we’re passing down a conveyor belt and God is assembling different components in us as we move down the production line of our character-building, and our suffering creates endurance. Our endurance produces godly character; this godly character creates hope in us, and this hope will never cause us to be put to shame.
Discipline Produces Godliness
Job knew a lot about suffering; and even though he didn’t fully understand why, he knew that “blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty” (Job 5:17). The author of Hebrews adds, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him” (Hebrews 12:5), because “the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6). “Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Hebrews 12:9-10).
When you are under severe trials, know that your perseverance is precious in God’s sight, for so too did Jesus, the Son of God, suffer during His scourging by the Romans and then excruciatingly at the cross during His crucifixion. We should not be surprised by suffering or trials. They are to be expected, as Jesus reminds us that “the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14). My prayer is that you will stay on this path and that you can endure the suffering because the one “who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life” (James 1:12).