How Do You Endure Difficult Times?
James 1:12 begins by discussing that God will bless those who patiently endure testing and temptation because after getting through these certain trials we will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those of us who love Him. We know from our earlier readings in James 1:2-4 that trials give us the opportunity to consider it as great joy because the testing of faith produces endurance and patience.
As you continue to be patient through your seasons of testing as well as overcoming the enemies temptations and attacks God blesses you in your spirit to experience great joy and peace but what does the crown of life mean? Many bible scholars are divided on the meaning of the crown of life some thinking it means eternal salvation others thinking it means our improved circumstances and more abundant life here on earth. In my personal time with the Lord, He has revealed to me to lean towards the latter of experiencing a more abundant life here on earth as I continue to trust confidently in Him that He will help me overcome my life challenges and the temptations from the enemy. I believe that because I know I am saved not by works but by God’s grace and my acceptance of Jesus as my personal savior. (Read Titus 3:5). Ephesians 2:8-10 AMP also say’s, “For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God.” As you continue to dive into these scriptures pray and ask God to reveal to you what this means to you.
Verse 13 talks about temptation and remembering that God never tempts you to do wrong or evil things in your life. He can test you which is different because through the testing of your faith, you grow in your Christ-like character and God is concerned with that growth. Our walk with Jesus is to grow over time as we become his followers so that we can experience the holy spirit's power within us and fulfill God’s great plan for our lives. Verse 14 goes on to say that “temptation comes from our own desires” and this is because you have free will to choose to decide what you are going to do each day. The enemy, satan, is the one who comes to tempt you in your mind so that you can choose to do things that are not good for you and do not serve God. This is why it is critical to renew your mind in the word of God daily so that you can defeat the attacks of temptations when they come through the power of the holy spirit that dwells within you. This is something we will all work on our entire lives because to follow Jesus and be a disciple means we have to model after His teachings and work towards living a life that models His character. Though we will never be perfect, we can strive for growth and improvement every day by submitting to God and cultivating a relationship with him. As we allow him to guide us, he can help us overcome desires that do not align with his will and guide us in our pursuit of righteousness. By continuing to draw closer to him and seek his guidance, we can make progress in our journey toward becoming more like him. It’s not an easy path but leads to the most fulfilling purpose-driven life we can all experience while we are here on earth before we go to heaven.
The final scripture today concludes with these desires of our own leading us to sinful actions that if allowed to continue to persist grow and give birth to death. When I read this verse I believe the word death is relating to the physical sense and spiritual sense. For example, physically giving into certain sinful natures like drinking or doing drugs can lead you physical death because these things pursued over time are harmful to our bodies. When I say spiritual death I believe as you lean into more sinful things it can also lead you away from God and the fellowship He wants to have with you. This is why it's so important to guard your mind and continue to seek God first in all that you do so He can help you overcome any temptations that come your way.
Closing Prayer: Father God, thank You for helping me endure all the testing and trials in my life. I know with You I can overcome any challenge in front of me and that You never tempt me but help me through it all. Thank You for helping me overcome the desires within me that do not serve me and allow me to overcome any sinful nature that has been holding me back in Jesus name Amen!
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