Standing The Test
In the most two recent blogs we have discovered that the only way to "count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds" (James 1:2) is to be anchored in Christ (Neh. 8:10). Then, we discovered that we can be joyful because the testing of our faith is producing patience in us, which is important for us to have in order that we might be made perfect and complete (James 1:3,4). Now we turn our attention to James 1:12:
"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."
When you think of someone that is to be envied or someone who is happy, who or what do you think of? You think of someone who has their life together. Someone who has plenty of money to live off. Someone who has a nice home, nice vehicles, and a picture perfect family. James says otherwise. The word "blessed" literally means to be happy and someone to be envied. Look at who James says is "blessed" - "the man who remains steadfast under trial."
A man who is happy is a man who is patient under temptation, affliction, calamity and when his faith is tested. A man to be envied is a man who, when his faith is going through a fiery trial, does not lose his temper, does not complain and does not become irritable. That man, according to James, is a man we should envy. Funny how James' idea of "blessed" and our idea of "blessed" is very different.
The question we must ask now is why is a man who is patient when his faith is being tested worth envying? Why is that man "blessed"? James gives us one answer - "for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life." When that man has remained patient under the testing of his faith (James 1:3), he will receive from God "the crown of life." The man who is patient under temptation, affliction and calamity will receive something no amount of money can buy you - "the crown of life."
How do you know whether or not you have "stood the test"? When you are able to endure the testing of you faith without complaining, losing your temper or becoming irritable, you have "stood the test". When we go through trials of various kinds and we lose our tempers, complain and become irritable we fail the test that God is allowing in our lives. Essentially, when we complain, lose our temper or become irritable when our faith is tested, we are complaining, losing our temper and becoming irritable with the good that God is doing in our lives. Remember, God allows our faith to be tested for the development of patience (James 1:3), which results in our perfection and our completion (James 1:4).
Here is some hope: this is a promise of God. Notice James' closing phrase in 1:12 - "which God has promised to those who love him." When you stand the testing of your faith, God has promised to give this "imperishable award" to those who finish the race of faith (1 Corinthians 9:25). When you maintain your fight of the good fight of faith, God promises to give this "crown of righteousness" (1 Timothy 4:7,8). When you have "stood the test", and when Jesus appears, our chief Shepherd, you will receive the "crown of unfading glory" (1 Peter 5:4). Are you standing the test?