Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him. (WEB)
The calling of the Christian life is to live in the world but not be 'of' the world. While we live a life where we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3), we are not insulated from heartache and loss. Jesus told His disciples in John 16:33 that though trouble would come, they would overcome every obstacle because He overcame... I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.” (WEB)
The New International Version of today's Bible reading says it this way... 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. (NIV)
There is a blessing for every dear heart that perseveres in the midst of life's storms. Just like coal is transformed into diamonds under great pressure, we too are molded into the image of the Son through the things we endure.
Now I am not saying that we need to look to add troubles in our lives to produce godliness. The reality of the broken world system that we live in is that troubles will inevitably find us. The big question is what do we do when they come? Do we complain and become bitter or do we patiently endure knowing that we are to consider hardship as the loving discipline of the Lord (Hebrews 12:7).
The good news is that the end result of all our trials will produce a harvest of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11) in us. As today's promise tells us, we can be assured that the crown of life awaits us at the end of our journey here on earth. My prayer today is that we would be comforted in knowing that our God and Father is present with us even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Though all things that we experience aren't good, God has promised to work everything for our good at the end of the day (Romans 8:28). May we know that persevering under pressure is temporary in the light of an eternity living in the unconditional, extravagant love of God.
3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering works perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope: 5 and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (WEB)