“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.”
(James 1:12 ESV)
As believers, we face trials of many kinds. We struggle with temptation. We struggle with sin. We struggle with disappointment. We struggle with difficult circumstances in life. And, of course, we endure various forms of persecution.
These trials can make it difficult to remain faithful. It seems, at times, that life would be easier if we only forsook the Lord. It seems that this world would be easier to navigate without the struggles brought on by our faith.
However, as we see in the above passage, we must remain steadfast under trial. We must persevere under trial. We must endure these hardships. And we must do so that we might receive the blessing of eternal life promised to us by God.
Our faith, you see, is not a one-time decision that we make. It’s not a one-time prayer that we offer. It’s not something given only to us at the time of our baptism. Faith is the ongoing state of a believer in Jesus. It’s a continuing trust in the Lord in the face of difficult circumstances.
Because we receive the salvation of God by faith, our faith must remain if we’re to receive it. We cannot turn from faith, we cannot forsake the Lord, and receive his blessing. We are not saved because we, at one time, had faith.
Jesus echoes this thought in Matthew 24. He’s discussing, in this chapter, all of the trials and struggles that will be faced by believers as the end approaches. And then, in verse 13, he says: “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
We, then, must remain in faith in the face of these trials. No matter how hard life may get, we must confidently trust in the Lord. We must not waver, we must not falter, when life gets difficult.
This, of course, is not something we can do on our own. We must rely on the Spirit of God for the strength to carry through. We must allow him to work in us, through his Word, that we might stand firm.