Sunday, April 2, 2017

Blessed are Those Who Persevere

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12, NASB

This verse could be taken in so many directions..blessed are those who endure horrible family lives, blessed are those who suffer from awful physical ailments, blessed are those who parents did not love them, blessed are those who have children with special needs, blessed are those who suffer from an addiction...

Yes, I sat and pondered this verse. I know this is going to sound kinda harsh, but we NEED to go through hardships in our lives. If we have no hardships then we have no need for God or the salvation that Jesus offers. To go through a hardship is where a person defines oneself, I believe.

When trouble comes, how do you react? Do you wallow in depression? Or do you bend your knees and ask for God to lift it? Do you stay in bed or do you do to counseling or a doctor for help?

When hatred is spewed your way, do you retaliate back, or do you offer forgiveness and prayer for that person?

When a family member falls ill, do you remember all the unkind words spoken to you, or do you remember Jesus forgiving the prostitute and commanding us to forgive 70 times seven times?

When life seems like it's just crushing you and you can't breathe, do you reach for the bottle to take a reprieve from life? Or do you call your sponsor or attend a meeting?

Jesus did not promise an easy life.  In fact, he actually said that life is going to be hard. But, Jesus wants to see that the choices we make are honoring to him even under the pressure of life. Remember, when God came to earth in the form of Jesus, a man like us, he allowed himself to be tempted just like we are. He allowed Satan to bring all sorts of trials to Jesus..and we can learn to make choices the way Jesus did.

If we make good choices, if we allow ourselves to put Jesus' love before everything, if we react to life with love in all we do at all times, we will be rewarded. Life is hard. I know that full well. But, I also know life is so short compared to eternity. And so now I will work so hard to please Jesus because I want my crown.