Monday, June 3, 2013

Fortunate is the Man (or Woman)

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.
James 1:12  (NKJ)

Blessed - makrios - supremely blessed; by extension fortunate, well off;-blessed, happy(x-ier); to pronounce happy, blessed...the nature of that which is the highest good.
Temptation - peirasmos - is used of "trials" with a beneficial purpose and effect; "trials" or "temptations," divinely permitted or sent.
Crown - stephanos - primarily "that which surrounds, as a wall or crowd", denotes "a token of public honor:  for distinguished service, military prowess...It was woven as a garland of oak, ivy, parsley, myrtle, or olive or in imitation of these in gold.  In James 1:12 it stands as an emblem of life, joy, reward and glory.
Abraham and Job both experienced this sort of testing which was divinely permitted by God and they were both found righteous.  God knew the outcome of their testing because He knew their hearts and knew they trusted Him completely with their lives.  God knows your heart, recognizing a heart which loves Him.  He knows His love for you and your love for Him endures all things enabling you to trust Him in the most difficult of circumstances.
Fortunate is the man (or woman) who can be trusted by God to be tested knowing that the triumphant testing is of the highest good for that man (or woman) and for others impacted by that man's life.  God does notice and will honor the faithfully tested one.
Application of God's Word:

1.  Look at the definition of temptation used in James 1:12.  Peirasmos is used of "trials" with a beneficial purpose and effect, "trials or "temptations," divinely permitted or sent.

2.  Are you facing a trial that is divinely permitted or sent?

3.  What was the purpose for God testing Abraham and Job?

4.  What do you think is the purpose for God testing you right now?

5.  If you could look through spiritual, eternal eyes at your trial, what do you think you would see?

Personal Matters:

I know a couple who have been tested and tested and tested and tested.  Life hasn't been easy for them as they have both faced life-threatening illnesses for years.  Their children have had their share of struggles too.  Now the husband has been told the disease he has so valiantly fought will kill him within the next few months.  I sent him a card a while back letting him know he is my hero.  His faith in his God and the healing power of Christ is unwavering, and even though he is now walking through the valley of the shadow of death, his trust and hope in God are still strong.  He "knows whom he has believed and is persuaded that He is able to keep that which he has committed unto Him against that day."  God has tested my friend and he has been found faithful. 

I don't understand why my friends have had to suffer so much agony in their lives.  I'm sure they don't either.  And yet, they do attest to the goodness and grace of God in every step that they take.  I hear the Lord saying to them, "Well done, good and faithful servants.  Well done."

Definitions taken from Strong's Concordance and Vine's Dictionary.

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