Hey there, Vivid Church family! We are diving into the book of James and somethings to know as a Christian…
Close to the Heels of Trials is Temptation 🌪️
The verse that sets the stage for our discussion is James 1:12 (NKJV), which says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
From this verse, we can extract two key elements: temptations and crowns. Let’s break it down further. 🤔💡
- The Temptation of Comparison 🍦📺📸
Imagine this: you’re enjoying a scoop of ice cream while binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix, Disney+, or Hulu. Life seems pretty sweet, right? But then, you scroll through Instagram and stumble upon a post of a seemingly perfect life – happy couple, adorable kids, and loads of money. It’s natural to wonder, “Why them? Why aren’t my kids as well-behaved?” In times of trial, our envious hearts often rear their ugly heads. 🤯😞
Comparison, my friends, is a dangerous game. It turns us into the older brother in Luke 15 – cynical, critical, and constantly comparing ourselves to others. 🤨🤷♂️
- Embracing Seasons of Life 🌤️☁️
James reminds us that we all go through trials, just like we experience seasons of clear skies and cloudy days. It’s a part of life’s journey, and it’s in these trials that our true character is revealed. 🌦️😇
- Admiring Faithfulness 🙌❤️
Throughout history, we’ve witnessed remarkable individuals who endured trials without giving in to temptation. Think of Job, Joseph, Esther, Ruth, Corey Ten Boom, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela – they all displayed incredible faithfulness. We admire those who stand strong in the face of adversity. 🌟🏆
- The Crown of Life: A Glorious Reward 🤩👑
James tells us that those who endure temptation will receive the crown of life. 🏆 What’s intriguing is that the Bible mentions several crowns, each symbolizing something different:
- Righteousness (2 Tim 4): A crown for those with high character.
- Imperishable (1 Corinth 9): A crown for those who exhibit self-control. But, hey, self-control is a struggle – just ask me about my ice cream escapades!
- Martyr’s Crown: Mentioned in Revelation 2, this crown reflects those who never deny their faith in Jesus, even in the face of persecution or death.
- Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thes 2): A reward for those who help others find Christ. Evangelism at its finest!
- Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5): Reserved for faithful pastors and ministers, but let’s remember, we’re all ministers on a mission! 🙏🙌
My goal is to see each of you receive the crown of glory through our Dream Team and Growth Track.
- The Danger of Turning Inward 🤥
Turning away from God leads us down a treacherous path. When we try to fix our problems, hide our failures, or cover up our mistakes, we’re bound to stumble. 🚶♂️😬
- Turning to God: The Path of Grace 🙌🌦️
But when we turn to God, we tap into His grace, goodness, and mercy. We become more equipped to weather the storms of life. Remember, God’s love isn’t based on our actions; it’s unconditional. However, our growth in Him depends on our response. 🌧️🌈
- Resetting Your Life with God’s Help 🔄💡
God wants to reset you, just like my brother reset Gwen’s nursemaid’s elbow. When you stumble, God places people in your life, in your church, in your small group, and on your Dream Team who can help you. He’s always for you, whether you’re in the midst of trials or coming out of them. His love never wavers. 🤗❤️
Faith in Jesus produces faithfulness to Jesus.
So, as you navigate the trials and temptations of life, keep your eyes on the crown of life, the glorious reward promised to those who endure. Stay faithful, my friends, for our God is with us every step of the way. 🙏👑
Let’s praise God in the storm, knowing that His grace sustains us through it all. 🌦️🙌
- Pastor Joe