Treasure of God’s Full Glory

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2-3)

It is good advice but hard to accept to consider it joy in times of trial. We start off our days with this high goal to our heavenly Father that, “This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) It is a good and fitting ideal that to display the joy of the Lord in all circumstances of our day surely brings glory to our heavenly Father’s name. So many times in my youth I was taken aback seeing people rejoice in times of trouble. I failed to see the value of that allowing ourselves to be overcome with the difficulties of life sets us on a course of defeat and robs us of the countenance of the Lord. Jesus overcame all the trials of this world and was never down in the mouth from there result. I finally realized that if I claim to have faith in the Lord, then I must trust the He will always provide a way of escape. If I trust the Lord, then I confer with Him and place my burdens upon Him for He is my counselor. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

There is value in adversity for it strengthens us for the race that lies ahead. That strength enables us to resist our adversary and move forward rather than being taken in with the deceitfulness of his ploys. When we stay true to the path set before us by the leading of the Lord the wave tossed sea about us forms the bridge to our eternal reward. Then we can each say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) Oh, what a liberating feeling that will be and certainly then we will see that we can count it all joy.

This is what James is trying to tell us in that we are blessed when we persevere through the trials of this world. Once we have overcome we truly shall find joy in our happiness. We certainly are mindful of the trial but our focus in the oncome of that trial. Our focus is on the victory that Jesus has already won and will lead us into. We may seemingly have loss but if we do not relinquish our saving faith in Jesus our loss in minimal to the glorious gain. Our trials are but a test of that saving faith. The pattern of our comfort may be broken but ultimately it is strengthened by our endurance. It is a test of our faith that we should not fail, as God will not test us beyond what we can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13) To fail the test of our faith opens the door for the adversary to place temptation into our minds and cause us to doubt. By persevering and overcoming our trials we are approved of God and receive the promise of the “Crown of Life. ”Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12) The follower of Jesus who remains steadfast and keeps his first love gives evidence to the salvation he will receive.

These two evidences, endurance and our love for God are distinct for the one who has received salvation. When we remain steadfast in our faith in Jesus and not waver from that path we will receive the Crown of Life. Our endurance in times of trial is proof of our faith and trust in God’s Word. The second evidence is that our love for God is stronger than the trials that come into our lives in this world. When the gospel reached the city of Antioch many by the grace of God believed in Jesus. Barnabas heard this news and traveled from the Church in Jerusalem to Antioch and when he arrived exalted the believers in Antioch to remain steadfast in their love of the Lord. “Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord.” (Acts 11:23)

These two attributes of God’s grace work together for the benefit of the follower of Jesus. The Believer in Christ does not receive the Crown of Life by receiving the Gospel of Jesus with joy. He must be steadfast in his faith and endure through the trials of life. So many fall away when trials and tribulations come into their life. They show a lack of faith and a trust that has no root in the Word of God. Jesus spoke of this in His parable of the sower. “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.” (Matthew 13:20-21) When the trials of life come upon them, which they will, they forsake the Lord and go their own way. It is a question of where their treasure is. Is their treasure in a trial free life thinking that as a child of God they should not have tribulation? If so, they are naive to the world that they live in, which is the need of a Savior. They treasure an ease of life more than they treasure a relationship with God the Father.

The Christian knows in this world there is no smooth plain, a thorn less life. The Christian is well aware that the world we live in is a cursed world by the sin of the fall of man. “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field.” (Genesis 3:17-18) For the Christian their aim is to see Christ glorified through their trials and tribulations and for this reason they remain steadfast in their faith.

The Apostle Paul had many trails during his ministry and never wavered. But one trial came to Paul that he identified as a throne in the flesh and he pleaded with God to remove it. God refused and told Paul that His grace was sufficient to carry him through. Paul accepted this answer from God and remained steadfast in his faith and expressed a deeper love for his Lord. Paul did not complain and he did not falter but saw the value in this throne and boasted over it. Thus steadfastness and love came together for Paul and he glorified Jesus through it. “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

The Christian suffers in this world as Jesus did. The Christian presses ever on to receive the victory that will be given by their Lord Jesus Christ. This world is but a temporary dwelling and the Christians home is in the Kingdom of God. What is suffered here is only for a little while and then the fullness of His glory, as they will receive their reward. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, November 29, 2015

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