Life is filled with trials, tests and crosses to bear. But, while difficult, these don’t have to be the end of us.
Trials, tests and crosses may indeed stretch us, but they don’t need to break us. In fact, the testing of our faith muscles in life can be like the testing of our physical muscles at the gym. Greater strength and endurance will be the result.
That’s why James encourages us to adopt a challenge mindset.
“Consider it pure joy,” he says, when we are tested. And how does one do that? The way to accomplish this is to look past the pain we are currently experiencing to the great end result we will be achieving through the stretching and strengthening of our faith.
No, it’s not fun now. We admit that. And we empathize with the pain you’re going through. But that end result is so beautiful.
The result in this life is that we grow up and become mature. And through our trials, our trust in God and his promises is perfected. We are made more complete people. We become more fully-developed followers of Jesus Christ.
But the best result of all? That’s the one that comes after this life is over. Once we’ve stood the test, once we’ve born the cross, we’ll receive the crown. Eternal life — that beautiful gift of Jesus — will be ours.
Endure and procure. Bear the cross with joy. And you’ll receive the crown with even greater joy.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything… 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 1:2-4, 12, NIV).
Lord, help me to adopt a challenge mindset toward the trials, tests and crosses in my life. I want to be able to see past the pain to the awesome results that will follow. Help me find joy in knowing that because of you, Jesus, my crosses will all one day be exchanged for a crown.
Our Bible reading for Tuesday, November 17, is Ezekiel 32:1 – 33:20, James 1:1-27 and Psalm 127:1-5.
Header image based on "Cross and Crown" by RichardBH, CC By 2.0