VERSE OF THE DAY
James 1:12 (New Living Translation)
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.
It is trials and tribulation in the life of a Christian that refines our trust in God and increases our dependence upon the Lord. The personal difficulties and dangers that we face in our everyday life, and our reaction to the distresses and despair of others is often the determining factor – of whether we hold fast to what we believe of Christ’s sufficient strength.. OR, whether we allow seeds of doubt to darken our hearts to the goodness of God.. and so become tossed to and fro in a sea of uncertainty. But blessed is the man who endures such trials and tribulations, in the power of His might.. because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to all who love Him.
We have a vicious enemy that is seeking to shipwreck our faith in the goodness of God.. and his strategy is to plant seeds of doubt in the mind of all believers, so that their life is not fruitful, nor honouring to the Lord Who bought them. But the trials and tribulations that are designed by the enemy to unsteady our faith, can be used as the catalyst to strengthen our trust in God – if we will but persevere in His sufficient strength.. for this brings honour to our Father in heaven, and an eternal reward for those that patiently endure.
We do not have the capacity to stand firm in this evil day in our own strength, but Christ has promised that His grace is sufficient. And when we do hold fast to the precious promises of God and remain anchored to the truth of His holy Word, we will not be tossed about like a frothy wave in a sea of doubt.. but will be anchored to the truth of His sufficient grace.
No matter what the status of a believer is – whether rich or poor, it is imperative that we are rooted and grounded in Christ and not reliant on our own sufficiency and strength. The one that is rich should never trust in his riches but trust in the Lord with all his heart and not rely on his own bank-balance, influence; education or position to hold him steady. Similarly the poor man must never lose sight of the truth that God had given us everything we need for life and godliness and that IN Christ we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing – for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
The difficulties we face in life can trip us up and tempt us into doubt and despair.. but blessed is the man who endures these trials and tribulations.. because when he has passed the test he will receive the magnificent crown of life, which the Lord our God has promised to all who love him. Let us praise God for His goodness and grace and seek to stand firm in Christ and hold fast to the promises of God – for our eternal benefit and to His greater glory.
What does James 1:12 mean?
James echoes the thought begun in verse 2 where he called on believers to categorize hard times as joyful things. Why? Because our faith only grows stronger when tested by trials. Trusting God through our trials pushes us toward the Christ-like maturity of trusting God more, and more deeply, and with greater endurance. That choice to keep trusting God in the midst of the trial brings His blessing. Our circumstances may be hard, but we have His approval. God is on the side of those who trust Him through life’s most difficult moments.
Those who maintain trust in God during hardships will receive “the crown of life.” Bible scholars are divided on exactly what James means by this. This might simply refer to eternal life itself, promised to all Christians who, by definition, love God. However, given the context of Scripture, this is an unlikely meaning. Eternal life is not hinged on our works or faithfulness (Titus 3:5).
A more likely explanation is that this crown is “of life” in the same sense that other crowns are “of gold.” In that case, the reward for perseverance is improved circumstances. That is, the reward James speaks of may be a more abundant life here and now, on this side of eternity, or in heaven, or both. This would match well with Jesus’ own words regarding the effect of faith on our quality of life (John 10:10).
Other scholars would suggest that this mysterious crown is an additional reward, given in eternity, for Christians who refused to stop trusting God even when their trials on earth became difficult. These believers trusted God through their trials instead of turning away. They loved God and continued to obey Him in their hardship. According to this interpretation, He will reward them with this specific crown. Very similar language is used by the apostle John in the book of Revelation when he quotes Jesus making this very promise to those who are “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10). Paul and Peter also write about crowns to be given to faithful Christians (1 Corinthians 9:24–27; 1 Peter 5:4; 2 Timothy 4:8).
In any case, this verse makes the connection between our love for God and our ability to remain faithful to Him in hard times. Those who truly love God trust Him, and those who truly trust Him continue to obey even when life gets hard.
James 1:2–18 begins with a challenging command for Christians. We are to classify hard things in their lives as ”joyful,” because those ordeals help us develop a deeper trust in God. Christians who trust God also seek wisdom from Him—and not from ungodly sources. We continue to trust Him through difficult experiences, in part, to receive the crown of life promised to those who don’t stop. We don’t blame Him for our desire to sin, but we do credit Him for every good thing in our lives.
How important is it for Christians to trust God? It’s so important, James writes, that we should call our worst moments joyful things, because trials help us trust God more. People who trust God ask Him for wisdom—and then take what He gives. People who trust God make a bigger deal about their rewards in the next life than their wealth in this one. People who trust God don’t blame Him for their desire to sin; they give Him credit for all that is good in their lives. They look into His Word, and they act on what they see there.