Journal James 1 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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.” Jam 1:12
Observation: James gets right to the point in his letter to the churches; fluff is not readily found. In the 1st chapter I can list point by point a ton of things, however, I usually skip over v12 to make sure I ask for wisdom instead.
Analysis: What would I be apt to ask for first: Wisdom or Steadfastness under trial?
Why, the answer is right there: Wisdom of course. I do (and did). I will bet others do as well. No shame in that. After all, wisdom is in v5 and steadfastness is way down in v12. Solomon says that wisdom is very cool to have.
This verse caught my eye today, though. I am good with being blessed. I really don’t like doing anything for a blessing, though. I like those Sovereign God blessings way more—ones I get without doing anything.
I must wonder: What is being Steadfast? What does that look like? If I must ask about steadfastness, then it sort of follows I need to ask about “trials.”
Steadfast (or steadfastness): Looks like in my mind a setting of the jaw; a fiercest determination to stay in a specific place; not to be moved. “I will not be swayed or moved.” Steadfastness has that certain perception of personal exertion of strength. I don’t think I am too far off the mark on how many folks think about being steadfast.
Trials: Woo boy…In the Christian community this probably equates to ordeals, hurts and pains, troubles, persecutions; and most of these are attributed to the enemy exerting his badness towards me.
It occurs to me that trials don’t have to be big and theatrical. Trials could be little things like…practicing patience at a signal light; not being irritated when being inconvenienced; accepting being wronged for the 5th time today; not grousing loudly when I can’t find my keys; refusing to act in kind when sharply talked to, and so many other small and harmless things.
I would like to think I could persevere victoriously if presented with the ONE BIG TRIAL to be steadfast in. Could I persevere with 1,000 little trials daily?
Makes me think…
Prayer: Lord, reading Exodus with my wife this AM, made me think about Israel and how you gave them 2 little trials to be faithful in: Gather the food up that you provided daily and don’t try to keep it overnight and keep the Sabbath holy. Just 2. It wasn’t a test for you to see how they did, it was a test for them to see how they did. Father, in the little, daily, hourly even, trials that You take me through, help me to honor You by cooperating with the Holy Spirit to pursue holiness. AMEN.