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.” (ESV)‬‬

OBSERVATION: How does the Lord measure greatness in our lives? Does He measure it by our accomplishments? What did Jesus have to say about this?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew‬ ‭7:21-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

According to the words of Jesus, accomplishments are not the measure of greatness in our lives. This verse in James 11:2 reinforces the overall teaching of Scripture, and the overall Biblical understanding of faith – greatness is measured by faithfulness! Faithfulness is proven in the valley of adversity. It is easy to be faithful when everything is going according to plan, according to our desires. However, when we have to walk through difficulty, this is where our faithfulness is truly tested. So once again, James writes:

“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.”

The entire first chapter is given to this theme. He opens this letter to the 12 Tribes of the dispersion with these words:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭ESV)

It is this call to persevere through the trials of life that tempers our faith, that produces steadfastness, that produces spiritual maturity. It is to this end that we are to ask for God’s wisdom in faith, to stay on the pathway of faithfulness. This is the reason we are to be slow to speak, quick to hear, and slow to anger. We cannot hear the voice of the Lord in the midst of our trial when we are doubting, complaining, or angry.

We need to have open ears and “hear” the Word of God. However, hearing we need to obey. To know the next step and then to not take it is foolishness. It is not the “hearers” of the Word that remain steadfast under trial, it is the ‬‬”doers” of the Word that are sustained, guided, and blessed in their doing! As we walk through the valley of trial we can have full confidence in God’s good intentions for our lives, for every good and perfect gift comes from Him. We will receive the wisdom to avoid the temptation of the enemy, and we will be drawn with sincere compassion toward those who are in need. This is the hallmark of faithfulness. This is why those who are faithful will receive the crown of life!

Lord, forgive me for my constant penchant to view faith in terms of accomplishments rather than in terms of faithfulness. Give me a heart that remains steadfast in trials, that seeks Your wisdom above all else, that is not just a “hearer” of the Word, but a “doer”. As I walk through the valleys and mountains of life, may my heart always be directed toward other’s needs above my own. Create in me the heart and mind of Christ Jesus I pray.

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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