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  • 👑 James 1:2-3 | The Ultimate Reward for Faithfulness

👑 James 1:2-3 | The Ultimate Reward for Faithfulness

PLUS: Quotes from George Meuller and resources to help you dig deeper

Howdy 👋 

If you missed the Monday or Tuesday emails, you can click here to read them (scroll down after clicking to read them).

📧 In today’s email…

  • 🌪 Trials are part of the Christian life

  • 👑 What enduring faith leads to..

  • 🧠 Quotes from George Meuller

  • 📚️ Resources to help you connect further with James 1:2-3

 🧠 Memorize

see if you know what words go in the blanks

Count it ___ ___, __ ________, when you ____ ______ __ _______ _____,

for you ____ that the testing of your _____ produces steadfastness.

James 1:2-3

(Answer key below. You can also use our free web app to memorize in your favorite translation. Set up instructions are linked at the bottom of this email.)

🌪 Trials are a part of the Christian life

When we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, it’s clear that trials and tests have always been part of the story of the people of God.

The biblical storyline is chock-full of both successes and failures.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Adam and Eve were tested when God set one tree set off limits (Gen 2:8-17)

  • Cain was tested by his anger against his brother Abel (Gen 4:6-10)

  • Abraham was tested when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22:1-2)

  • Job was tested through significant hardship (Job 23:10)

  • Israel was tested by God on numerous occasions (e.g. Exod 16:14; 20:20; Deut 8:2-3; 13:1-3; Judg. 3:4)

  • Israel’s kings, like Saul, David, and Hezekiah were tested (1 Sam 15; 24; 2 Chr. 32:31)

  • Jesus was tested (Matt 4:1-11; 16:1; 26:36-46)

  • The disciples were tested numerous times (Mark 4:36-41; 6:35-44)

  • Christians in the early church are tested through various trials (James 1:2-3; 1 Pet 1:6-7)

Again, James is shooting straight with us. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when

As Jesus told his disciples:

“In this world, you will have trouble..”

John 16:33

Trials are baked into the reality of life.

And they present opportunities to:

  • test our hearts

  • prove and purify our faith

  • build within us a greater endurance to keep following Jesus

But there’s also more! 👇️ 

Enduring faith leads to… 👑

Just a few verses later, James uses the same trio of words we reviewed yesterday to show us what all of this leads to:

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.

James 1:12

What we see here is that endurance or perseverance is not the end goal itself.

James wants us to develop enduring faith because enduring faith will eventually be rewarded!

House of Bavarian Histroy - Museum (Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte - Museum). Crown of King Ludwig II. of Bavaria (König Ludwig II. von Bayern)

Using the same tradition of blessing language found in the Psalms (e.g. Psalm 1:1) and Jesus’ beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) —

— James says the person who passes the test is “blessed” because after passing the test they will receive the “crown of life!”

This “crown of life” is one of only five crown metaphors in the New Testament:

  • 1 Peter 5:4: “the unfading crown of glory”

  • 1 Corinthians 9:25: “a crown that will last forever'“

  • 1 Thessalonians 2:19: “crown of boasting”

  • 2 Timothy 4:8: “the crown of righteousness”

  • James 1:14: “crown of life”

All 5 symbolize the eternal joy of the final state in which believers will enjoy unbroken access to God and Jesus. Amazing!

So yes, trials are hard.

And yes, we may not experience full relief in this life.

But James wants to make it clear to his suffering audience that the strengthening of their faith through momentary hardship is worth it!

And this is because of the immense, unending joy that is promised those who love God!

Apply & respond: 🤔 

Trials are a certainty in this life.

And if we’re not prepared,

  • they can derail us

  • they can crush us

  • they can steal our joy

But if we are prepared, they can become a reminder of

  • the kindness of God to help us live well

  • the plan of God to make us more like Jesus

  • the glorious future that awaits us

Reflect 🤔 

How do I honestly tend to think about the trials in my life?

As a cruel nuisance? As an divine punishment? As something to avoid?

Share with a friend 🗣️ 

What’s one way God is inviting you to think differently about a trial you are currently facing?

How is he shaping you to be like Jesus through it?

Wisdom 🧐 

The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testing.”

George Meuller

God delights to increase the faith of His children.

We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God's hands as a means.

Trials, obstacles, difficulties and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith.

George Meuller

Recommended Resources 🎙️ 

Here are a few resources to help you dig deeper into this week’s passage and topics:

  • 📚️ Help is Here: Finding Fresh Strength and Purpose in the Power of the Holy Spirit by Max Lucado (link)

  • 🎙️ Sermon: Benefits of Facing Trouble by Tim Keller (link)

  • 💻️ 9-Min Video: Is God Testing Me? by John Piper (link)

  • 📹️ Bible Project: Overview of James (link)

  • 🎵 Perseverance (Consider it Joy) by Writing Worship Community to help you memorize this verse (listen on Spotify | listen on Apple Music)

Answer key  

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

James 1:2-3

Tomorrow, we’ll connect our memory verse to the larger story of Scripture!

Have a great Wednesday! 🐫 

Best,

Kieran & Isaac 🙏 

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