“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1:12-15
James promises us that trials are going to come our way. But he also reminds us that if we remain steadfast through them we shall be blessed and receive the crown of life.
Being steadfast means being fixed firmly in place, not subject to change, firm in belief and determination. It means being rooted and grounded in the love of God (Ephesians 3:17). It means having our anchor held secure behind the veil (Hebrews 6:19), standing firm on Christ our solid rock no matter what storms come our way. It means not changing our actions or attitudes based on our circumstances but being constant in every situation, staying firm in our belief in the supremacy of God over all trials that we face.
In Romans Paul reminds us of the reason why God allows us to undergo trials or suffering – “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:4-5. Diamonds are essentially chemically the same as coal, both consisting of carbon. The difference is that diamonds have withstood more pressure, which transforms them into the valuable diamond rather than the cheap coal. Likewise with our trials – they develop our endurance, our character, our hope, our ability to remain steadfast and to ultimately receive the crown of life on that glorious day when we enter in through the gates of heaven.
But James also warns us to be wary of temptation. For just as trials develop good qualities in our life temptation can develop destructive qualities. Enduring trials leads to the crown of life, but giving into temptation gives rise sin and then ultimately death and destruction. Jesus gives us the best example of how to resist temptation in Matthew 4:1-11 where He uses the Word of God to rebuke the temptations of the devil. The devil wants to tempt us with lesser things. To stand firm against temptation we must know the promises of God in His word and remember that the crown of eternal life we have been promised is so much greater than the fleeting pleasure giving into temptation now will bring. James compares temptation to being lured. Fishermen use lure to catch fish – a lure is a piece of bait designed to look like a tasty fly, but really it is hiding a hook that will catch the fish and swallowing the lure will result in the death of the fish. The devil tries to lure us with things that look good, but we must stand firm on the word of God, knowing that what He has for us is much, much greater and stay steadfast so that we will receive the crown of eternal life.