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Jesus Shines Through Our Trials

Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
-James 1:12

James is a book that says, "Now that you are a Christian, you have a lot of problems".  And James is a book about how to be a servant of Christ in your earthly life.

We can misunderstand the gospel to mean either, "Get saved, so that you can go to heaven", or, "Come to Jesus and you won't have any more problems."  

We get saved and begin a life of living with God and in Christ now.  And when we get saved, it seems like we have more problems.

James understands the gospel message and he unpacks it.  His letter is addressing, "How then shall we live?"  James writes:

  1. Christians have trials.
  2. We are blessed as we endure trials.
  3. As we stand the tests, we receive the crown of life.
  4. We live life through loving God.

1. Christians Have Trials

First, we need to dispel ourselves of any false notion that Christians do not have problems.  Suffering is part of the package.  And we are born into a spiritual war, where we are targets.

When you become a Christian, life becomes problematic.  If you previously lied and denied, you now have to learn to live by telling the truth and taking responsibility.  You used to avoid the truth and now you are living in the truth.

You now have become aware.  Unredeemed people who are outside of Christ, live unaware and out of touch.

The Christian life is a life of suffering for Christ.  There is a paradox in that a person may have a lot of suffering, troubles, trials, and temptations; but be very close to God.  Unspiritual persons might look at them and think their life is a mess of defeat.

We suffer and we get to walk with Jesus in our suffering and have fellowship with him in it.

The fellowship of the sufferings of Christ comes in areas like being misunderstood, rejected, betrayed, hated, and maliciously gossipped about.

And we are also born into a war over people and the earth.  When we join Jesus, we become a target for his enemy.  When we join Jesus, they want to attack us.  Like it or not, we are born into the war.

For James, that is a given.  We are not saved just to go to heaven.  And we are not saved from our problems.


2. We Are Blessed as We Endure Trials

Letting go of those myths or 'not-the-gospel's', we must face the reality of a life with trials.  Denial is pretending that this is not happening, in order to protect ourselves.  We want to come out of that and be alert.

Bravery is called for.  That is endurance.  We endure, go through the pain and suffering and are strangely blessed along the way.

With every problem, there comes attached, provision for that problem.  That is the law.  Whatever is thrown at you or allowed to happen to you; has provision from God attached to it.

This is how James can say, "Rejoice when you have troubles!"

We endure and God blesses us.  If we do not endure, we miss out on a blessing.

"Blessed", means happy.  Happy are the people who go through trials, temptations, and testings.  This saying is just like Jesus beatitudes.

This is my note, on the word 'blessed':

The beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10, are a list of blessed facets of the followers of Jesus. But "blessed" is a word that we have to make sure we understand. Jesus is not talking about the person whom God blesses, but is describing a happy person, a fortunate person: "someone who is to be congratulated, someone who's place in life is an enviable one" (RT France, Matthew, p. 108, 1985).


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
-Matt. 5:3-10

Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
-James 1:12


3. As We Stand The Tests, We Receive The Crown of Life

The crown of life is simply Christ's life manifested in your life for all to see.  His glory comes out of your trusting God in enduring your trials.  When you walk in bravery and receive provision to get through challenges, Christ shines.

Christians who don't endure, are not brave, and don't seek and find God's provision for their troubles; do not get to have the crown of life.  We sell ourselves short or miss out on our birthright and inheritance now, by not walking with the Lord in trials and sufferings.  We can forfeit the blessing and live below our destinies.


4. We Live Life Through Loving God

The life we live, that is a life of trials and troubles, with God; is lived by and through love.  "He Loves Me", is the banner over our lives.  Having been loved, we simply love God back.

The Christian life starts with love and continues and lives in that same love.  We get mixed up with all sorts of other ideas about what the life is all about that are not reality.

Loving God is a relationship that is real, with affection and faith.  Love is grounded in faith and is acted upon with faithfulness, in the relationship.  We love God and are loved by God, for real, in an working relationship, as we go through trials, tests, and temptations.


The end result is that Jesus shines through our lives.  Christians are little christ's in the world, representing or giving witness to God.  He shines through us, because we love God and serve him in our lives.

And Jesus is shown in our lives as we go through hard times, suffering, trials, and temptations.  We get to be people with crowns of life, that show and tell Christ, and give off his sweet fragrance, to a world in need of him.

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