The crown of life
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NIV
James begins the passage using the word “blessed” related to what the Lord Jesus Christ used in the Sermon on the Mount. The person who is blessed is the one who finds joy living life following God. This person believes that complete happiness and satisfaction will be found in Jesus alone. No matter what status in life this follower of Christ has, the reason for existence is to be in the center of God’s will. This is the reason why he or she can persevere under trial. God will test our faith so that we will find for ourselves if it is genuine. A faith that is not tried and true will be worthless for it will not provide the perseverance we need when we are facing difficult times. God does not want His children faltering and failing when times of testing comes. God commends those who persevere when tested. “Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you” (1 Peter 2:20). At the end of the race of life, the Lord Jesus Christ will honor His children for their perseverance with an emblem giving them the crown of life. “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). We cannot earn this life for it is God that provides this full and free to those who surrender their lives to Him. Let us place our full confidence in Him for He promised that “God who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6). God will see to it that those who belong to His Kingdom will finish the race. “If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12). The fool will plan his life looking ahead for the next ten years or probably even twenty years for he thinks that is what will benefit him best. But the wise will choose the best that God provides for the long run for His best is beyond the grave, the crown of life.