The Everyday Girl Guide to: James and My Life (James 1:12)

June 23, 2013

First, I had to do a quick revisit to James 1:6-8 yesterday.  I received news that made me really doubt the confirmation I’d gotten from God about what I was supposed to be doing with my kids.  I immediately started second-guessing myself (and God) and wondering if I was now supposed to go the other direction.

Knock knock. 

Yes, this is God.  Let’s go over this again:

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Unstable has been a pretty key element in my recent life.  Maybe God’s been giving me what I asked for and I just didn’t like what I ended up with.  Whatever the case, I’m taking a stand for stability and going to maintain course until God definitively shows me otherwise.  I’ve got a white-knuckle grip on whatever that is that controls the rudder, but I’m going to let the Navigator navigate.  I was never very good at directions anyway.

Now that I’ve gotten past that, it’s time for a new section of the Bible.

12 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

Is it just me, or does this seem a little bit repetitive?

The Bible rarely repeats something just to repeat it.  Often it’s there for emphasis; just in case you weren’t paying attention the first time, God wants to make sure you notice what He’s trying to tell you.

So, hanging tough when the going gets tough leads to blessing.  But what’s this “crown of life”?

That exact phrase doesn’t show up again anywhere in the Bible.  The closest reference is in Revelation 2:10:

10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

Persevering doesn’t sound so bad.  Persevering to the point of death… that sounds a bit hardcore.  But the reward, “your life as a victor’s crown”, is a pretty awesome one.

American Christians are pretty spoilt.  We consider it persecution when someone makes a derogatory comment (often well earned!) about Christians on the internet.  Rarely do we experience actual persecution.  Trials, yes; maybe even some moderate suffering.  But, by and large, we have a pretty easy life.

Maybe these trials are a way to prepare us for the persecution that will come at some point in our lives.  Maybe we’ll have to stand up for what we believe at the loss of our job– or maybe even at the loss of our marriage.  Maybe we’ll have to give up something that seems good for what we believe in.

I don’t really have the answers.  All I know is that each trial that comes is an opportunity to stand fast, to hold my ground, and to chalk up a win for the home team… and at the end, I don’t get a mere trophy; I get a crown of eternal life.

I think that warrants repeating, too.

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