Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial…

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Today’s message is from James 1:12,「Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial…」We have been learning from the book of Hebrews for a while, and from this week, we will be learning from the book of James. This James is believed to be a brother of Jesus. The name of Jesus’ brother James appears several times in the Bible. Acts 15: 12-21 talks about the Council of Jerusalem, and in which James is mentioned, who became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Although he grew up as a brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55), he apparently did not believe Jesus as the Savior (John 7: 5). However, meeting the resurrected Jesus changed his life. He accepted Jesus as his Lord and he grew up to be one of the leaders of Jewish Christians. At a religious conference in Jerusalem, they discussed whether to force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs, and there James made a statement that was well-balanced. He made a wise statement that the relationship between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians should be settled peacefully. Please refer to Acts 15: 19-21. James’ letter does not emphasize the doctrine aspect like Paul’s, but it is like a sermon, emphasizing very practical teachings. We hope to receive wisdom from James’ letter and become believers who will bear good fruit. Now, please read James chapter 1.

 Just as today’s passage, James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial…”, it’s essential for us to go through trials and difficulties in order for us to grow as Christian. Even Jesus went through great trials and sufferings to provide us salvation. Hebrews 12: 2 says, 「(Let us) fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.」
‭‭ I believe that James witnessed the cross of Jesus. His faith and life changed when he saw Jesus’ suffering and met the resurrected Jesus. James 1: 1 introduces himself as a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. The relationship that James had with Jesus changed from the one as His brother to His servant. It involves a big decision of faith. James was changed when he met the resurrected Jesus and learned the meaning of Jesus’ cross. The expression of “servant” shows us that he is determined to follow Jesus and His steps and thoughts. James 1:2 says, “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,“ In my last message, I talked about challenges and difficulties that we face in our lives. It is certain that God’s help is fully given in such difficult times. Let us pray that God’s will will be done in us, with the promise that “suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance, character.” (Romans 5: 3, 4). Trials and challenges are essential to the growth of Christians. If we have that perspective, we can glory in our sufferings like James did. The test for our growth is the will of God. We can even rejoice in our trials by faith. Verse 4 says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.“ We can rejoice in our trials because we know that trials are the path of growth. Being mature is the appearance of a spiritual adult. Being complete means being mature and well-balanced in all respects. I’m not talking about being perfect without making mistakes or sinning. James 3: 2 says, “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” Such a person who is well-balanced and able to control the whole body means being complete. Trials and difficulties are essential for such growth. James himself went though trials and difficulties like that, so he was able to challenge us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds.

James 1:5 says, “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Wisdom from God is needed, especially when we are in trials. We need divine wisdom to know the true meaning of the trials of our lives. In particular, the Greek word Peyrasmos has a double meaning and can be translated as both trial and temptation. When we face difficulties, it may be necessary to judge correctly whether it is a trial to grow us or a temptation caused by our own selfish desires. If you are tempted, you need to stay away from it. We need to ask God for the meaning of this trial, just as King Solomon sought to judge good and evil and to discern to judge the people (1 King 3: 9).
  James 1:12 says,「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.」The trials are meant to persevere. Temptation is meant to stay away. When we face trials, it is important to have faith that in all things God works for our good, as Romans 8:28 says. As 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, God will provide a way out so that you can endure it. Sometimes we should simply stop trying, just turn back to God, and rejoice in God’s rest. (Isaiah 30:15, Hebrews 4:10) Let’s endure the trials with the hope that the crown of life will be given to us.
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