Blessed is the one who… James 1:12 – Remaining Steadfast

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

Relevant Scriptures:

Genesis 22:1
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

Exodus 20:6
but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Psalm 11:5
The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates

1 Corinthians 8:3
But the one who loves God is known by God.

1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable.

Commentary:

From Elliot: (12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.–Surely the Apostle links such blessedness with the nine Beatitudes, heard in the happy days gone by upon the Mount with Christ (Matthew 5:3-11). The words he uses in the original are the same as those which are expressed above, in our second, third, and fourth verses, by “patience” and “trials,” and mean a firm endurance, steadfastness, tenacity of purpose, and quenchless enthusiasm

From Henry: It is not every man who suffers, that is blessed; but he who with patience and constancy goes through all difficulties in the way of duty. Afflictions cannot make us miserable, if it be not our own fault. The tried Christian shall be a crowned one. The crown of life is promised to all who have the love of God reigning in their hearts.

My Pondering:

We clearly see here God tests us. Yet we also see He doesn’t tempt via evil. What are we to make if that? I personally don’t believe God chooses to control every circumstance in life. Oh, He is omniscient but He wants us to love Him through trials not just because He blesses us. He wants us to love Him for who He exclusively or primarily because of what He gives us. There may not be a reason for every challenge and obstacle that is in our way but I am convinced there is a purpose.

Yes, faith, hope and love rule! Faith to know God has got us covered in spite of our temporary circumstance. Hope to know by His works we can conquer and surpass all. Love. Loving God, the greatest commandment. This is why we exist and why there are tests. To prove our love for God requires this first and foremost our Jesus and the inspired writers would not have said so.

For when we persevere and abide in Christ, our crown of bliss, of eternal life is assured because of love. For John 3:16 sums it up so eloquently: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

My prayer:

Lord, help this poor soul stand strong and remain steadfast on Your love.

Abiding Richly – Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:16 ESV

Relevant Scriptures:

What then shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 1 Corinthians 14:15

For not only did the message of the Lord ring out from you to Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone out to every place, so that we have no need to say anything further.
1 Thessalonians 1:8

Commentary from Gill:
in all wisdom; or, “unto all wisdom”; in order to attain to all wisdom; not natural wisdom, which is not the design of the Scriptures, nor of the Gospel of Christ; but spiritual wisdom, or wisdom in spiritual things, in things relating to salvation; and which is, and may be arrived unto through attendance to the word of Christ, reading and hearing of it, meditating on it; and especially when accompanied with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, and which is to be desired and prayed for.

Teaching and admonishing one another. The Syriac version renders it, “teach and instruct yourselves”; and may regard not only publicly teaching Christ, his Gospel, the truths and doctrines of it, and all his commands and ordinances, for which he qualifies men, and sends them forth in his name; but private teaching, by conference, prayer, and singing the praises of God, according to the measure of the gift of grace bestowed on everyone: and so admonishing may not only respect that branch of the public ministry, which is so called, and intends a putting into the mind, or putting persons in mind both of their privilege and duty; nor only that part of church discipline which lies in the admonition of a delinquent, but private reproofs, warnings, and exhortations; and as by other ways, so, among the rest,

My pondering: First, I can’t but help notice the Scripture says, ‘Let’.

Let the Word of God dwell in you…richly.

Let…Richly.

It is a deliberate choice to marinate and soak up some of what God has for each of us. And we are then encouraged to teach and admonish one another in all wisdom. Group share!

When we worship and praise God in truth with a thankful heart, its all good. More than good!

Setting your mind – Colossians 3:2

Set your mind on things above,

not on things on the earth.

Colossians 3:2 NKJV

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE

Matthew 16:23
But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Philippians 3:19
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame. Their minds are set on earthly things.

Philippians 3:20
But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Philppians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think on these things.

Luke 12:15
And He said to them, “Watch out! Guard yourselves against every form of greed, for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Matthew 6
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.f

SELECT COMMENTARY

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Set your affections on things above,…. For unless the affections are set on them, they will never be sought after in a proper manner. The word signifies to mind them, and think on them, to favour and approve of them, to be affectionately desirous of them, and concerned for them; for where the treasure is, the heart should be; and as the saints’ best things are above, their minds and affections should be there likewise; their contemplation should be on those things, and their conversation should be in heaven; nor should they regard anything but what is there, or comes from thence, for they belong not to this world, but to another and better country: their citizenship is in heaven, and there, in a short time, they must have their everlasting residence; and therefore should seek after, and highly prize and value heavenly things, and set their affections on them, and

not on things on the earth; not mind earth and earthly things, temporal enjoyments, riches, and honours; and though food and raiment, and the necessaries of life, are to be sought after, and cared and provided for, yet not with anxiety and perplexity of mind, in an over thoughtful and distressing manner; nor should the heart be set on those outward things, or happiness placed in the possession of them. Moreover, worldly lusts, the members which are on the earth, earthly pleasures that are sinful, may be here meant. Worldly lusts are to be denied, the deeds of the body are to be mortified, carnal desires are not to be gratified and indulged, provision is not to be made for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts; and particularly the vain philosophy of Jews and Gentiles, the traditions of the elders, the ceremonies of the law, which lay in earthly things, in worldly observances, the difference of meats and drinks, keeping of days, months, and years, new moons, feasts, and sabbath days; the rudiments of the world, the commandments and doctrines which were of the earth, and lay in not touching, tasting, and handling certain things that are on earth, and which perish with the using, as opposed to the doctrines of the Gospel, and ordinances of Christ, which are from above, and come from heaven, and have a spiritual and heavenly use: and which is the sense chiefly intended, though it is best to understand the words in their largest compass.

KIRK’S COMMENTARY

Paul is prompting and requesting that we don’t major on the minors. He encourages us to focus on the big picture which from our current perspective is invisible. We are there but at the same time we are not. The good news is that with Christ on our side, we shall be. The most important things, the eternal ones, are invisible, somewhat hidden.

It is easy and natural to get burdened down by the cares of this world. The lists, duties, chores, maintenance, money (or lack thereof), cares, etc. We know we must handle these things but he wants us to put them in proper perspective. Yes, work is important because God had Adam working before in the garden before the great fall. Paul worked hard making tents and whatnot because he didn’t want to be a burden. Yes money is critical. Jesus spoke of money more than a lot of things. Solomon and others had great wealth. We simply wants us to put first things first. God is a God of love and abundance to those who heed His ways but keep in mind, sometimes (probably more than we Americans realize), less is more. Simple is often better than complicated. Money and work can be carnal or spiritual. We can work unto the Lord and be an extension of worship or we can work unto greed and our selfish greed and pride. We can see money, the love of it, as the root of all evil or it can be a wonderful tool. It has been well said, we should love people and use money, not the other way around (loving money and using people).
We need to carry a proper perspective and value what God values as He has masterfully laid out in nature and His good book.

KIRK’S PRAYER

Lord, please guide and prompt me to keep a holy and healthy perspective of the things of life. Help me carry a proper balance and view of You and Your commands and preferences.

…pondered them in her heart – Luke 2:9

What do you ponder in heart?

What do you keep dear?

Of course no one other than dear Mary had this privilege and responsibility yet we all have opportunities to ponder. That’s exactly what this whole blog is about.

If one person finds one morsel of truth, encouragement, insight, just one thing to cling to and ponder…that is a blessing bonus.

What a great example was Mary. So much to glean. No, she isn’t God like but she sure had plenty to ponder and deliver!

Ponder the path… Proverbs 4:46-27

“Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.”

Proverbs 4:26 — 4:27

My take: Life is decisions and about walking down the road. The Word is a lamp unto our feet. We can choose to walk in the light or darkness. This verse is a contrast and yet complimentary to yesterday’s. We choose and God determines. Your take?