Summary: James closes this section on times of testing with a promise for the believers who are suffering under trial by reminding them that God rewards those who remain faithful.
A PROMISE FOR TESTING TIMES
Chippie THE PARAKEET never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.
The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said "hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.
Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.
Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."
It’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart. [Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm, Word Publishing, 1991, p. 11. ]
"Sucked in, washed up, and Blown over" That about sums up how many of us feel at times isn’t? Unlike Chippie though, we have a wise and sovereign God overseeing the events of His children’s live. Though our trials may be tough and long, they come with the promise of reward.
Verse 12 is an encouraging conclusion to the discussion about trials begun in verse 2. James closes this section on times of testing with a promise for the believers who are suffering under trial by reminding them that God rewards those who remain faithful. It does not matter if the man is rich or poor, if he wants to receive the promised blessings he needs to remain faithful and his endurance will be rewarded with triumph. God rewards those who remain faithful under trial (CIT).
The reward is three fold.
I. POSSESSING INNER BLESSEDNESS; 12a.
II. BECOMING GENUINE, 12b.
III. RECEIVING THE CROWN OF LIFE; 12c.
Though having trials may not be a blessing, verse 12 teaches that enduring trials brings blessing. Blessed (is the) man who endures temptation, [because after having become genuine he will receive the crown of life, which He promised to those loving Him.]
God blesses someone who perseveres under trial. Blessed means "fortunate," and speaks of an inner quality of joy, a contentment in God not affected by outward circumstances. In fact the New Testament often uses this word to describe those who as far as outward circumstances are concerned appear not to be fortunate at all such as the poor, the hungry, the persecuted, or the martyrs.
This blessing is a joy that the world can not take from us. It is joy that resides in the depths of your heart. Joy is a matter of choice. You can allow yourself to be miserable in life or you can choose to face the challenges of life with joy. Our joy flows from a personal connection with the Savior of the World. Nothing can ever take that away from you.
The happiness of believers flows out of faithfully following Jesus. It comes after one has following Him through the good and the bad of life. Inner blessedness is the result of faithfully following Jesus even through the trials and tribulations of life.
And trials will come to the Christian who lives a SPIRITUAL LIFE. A young Christian who worked for a rich man was always telling his master that satan was after him and that he had a constant battle with him, but that he always won over satan. The master made fun of him, telling him that satan never bothered him. How was it, that the devil should bother the boy relentlessly? He would ask. The poor young Christian could not answer him.
One day however, they went hunting together. The master shot at some wild ducks. Some he killed and some he just wounded. "Run", the master said, "and catch the wounded ones first before they run away."
The young Christian came back laughing. He had the answer to the big question. "You know sir," he said, "why satan does not tempt you? Because, you are dead to God, just like those ducks. He goes after the live ones, ones like me."
Point: temptation is something the Christian has to fight with as long as we are here. If you are not being tempted there is a good chance you’re doing what the devil wants already, so he has no need to bother you.