Last time, we found that James encouraged those who were poor to rejoice in that they were exalted and he encouraged the rich to rejoice in that they were humbled. Did you find which you were? What is your attitude?
This time we will be looking at temptations and the reward for enduring until the end.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.
James starts out this by saying that the man that endures temptations is blessed. What does it mean to endure temptations? To me it means not giving in when your friend is asking you to go help him steal something. It means standing strong and immovable through the ridicule you will face for "being a chicken". Well, who's chicken are you? The world's? or Christ's? Being called a chicken is a derogatory statement used to taunt the person to do something outside of their comfort zone, or in some cases, their "belief zone". If you are the world's chicken, then you won't do anything for Christ that takes you outside of luxury and comfort. Obviously, if you are not a believer then you won't be called a chicken by believers if you refuse to do something for Christ - for example, taking the word of God to a cannibalistic jungle village. Why would you risk you life - waste you life - for this God you don't even believe in or worship? If you are Christ's chicken, then you will strive to do His will, which implies doing things that the world thinks is cool, but is against your Lord. An example of this might be like my earlier example - you may not be afraid to steal something (worldly speaking), but you know it's wrong, so you refuse to do it. You may look like a coward in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of Christ you're doing what's right.
Getting back on track...He that endures, stands strong, doesn't fall into all the evil schemes of the devil and desires of his own flesh - that man is blessed. Sounds easy, right? Not if you've ever resisted a temptation! Or, better yet, fallen into one! The trick to not falling into temptations that I have found, is loving God more than anything else. When your number one priority is doing HIS will, then doing YOUR will will be further down on the list. That probably wasn't a great way to put it - the trick to it - because it's really no trick, just the truth. When you love God more, everything else becomes less important - even your own desires.
But, being blessed isn't the only reward. That man will also "receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to them that love Him". See! Told you! Loving God more = wanting to do His will instead of your own. It's all a loop, isn't it? Loving God more = wanting to do His will = not wanting to do your own = resisting temptation = loving God more.
Giving into temptations results in sin. Giving in and going to steal something with your friend results in sin. Deciding to get drunk "just this once" results in sin. Lying to cover your tracks is sin.
Don't give into temptations. Strive to know God more. As you get to know Him more, you will love Him more - guaranteed.
Who's chicken are you?
In Christ alone,