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
As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. —James 5:11
As the last day of this journey into the book of James comes to a close, I want to draw your attention to these two verses in James where he proclaims blessings for those who have persevered. The coronavirus is an invisible enemy and it takes all of us to do our part to follow the guidelines and stay healthy and safe. We will persevere and we will come out stronger on the other side.
The word, “persevere” used in both verses, is the Greek word, ‘hypomeno.’ One of the translations of this word is to remain, specifically to persevere under misfortunes and trials and to hold fast to one’s faith in Jesus and to endure bravely and calmly. I hope and pray that out of this season comes a strong army of Believers who held fast to Jesus and who endured bravely and calmly. What an amazing testimony that would be to the world around us of the unshakeable faith in Messiah.
The beginning of James 5:11 says “we count as blessed” and this translates to the Greek word, ‘makarizo,– interestingly, this word is only used twice in the entire Bible! The only other time it is used is in Luke 1:48, where Mary says, ‘all generations will call me blessed.’ This was right after Mary found out she was going to give birth to Jesus. What great company we are in that when we endure and persevere, we will be blessed in this same way.
Not only will we be blessed, but James 1:12 states that for those who withstand the trial, they will receive the crown of life. This crown is translated as a mark of righteousness given to genuine servants of Jesus. There are many in the Bible who withstood many trials, from Moses and Abraham to Peter and Paul. James specifically mentions Job, who is a great example as he endured many trials. Our lives may feel like the book of Job right now! The word in Greek used to describe Job’s endurance can be translated as patient endurance, steadfastness, and constancy. I pray those are the characteristics each of us develop during this time.
James 5 reminds us of a great promise we can cling to during these times: The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. As I’ve mentioned many times this week, the Lord doesn’t change. Our circumstances may be changing constantly but the Lord remains the same. He is loving and kind, merciful and full of grace. He hasn’t forgotten you and He knows exactly what You are going through. Hold fast to His promises and endure this trial along with Him knowing you will be blessed.
Practical Takeaway: Write down the characteristics you want to display to the world during this season and ask the Lord to help you develop these so you can proclaim His name to those around you.