James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

To persevere is always admirable. Just keep thinking “I can do it!” I remember in High School when I ran my first cross country race thinking to myself, “I don’t know if I can make it to the finish line.” I began to set goals to help me make it from one point to another. Finally, the finish line was in sight and it became my final goal. I persevered and overcame to receive the prize. James has added another dynamic to “perseverance” that is “under trial.” If I had been sick and running, that would have qualified for “under trial”. Many are running the race of this life and are under trials. I think of members of the “persecuted church” throughout the world, trying to live as a Christian in some of the most impossible situations. Many personal e-mails I receive are from people that are enduring some of the toughest situations. My heart especially goes out to parents that are carrying an extra load because of the illness of a child.

The Holy Spirit has come to guide us through the obstacles that interfere with our race toward the goal of His high calling. It is a race not in terms of speed, but rather the goal for the prize. The goal is the Throne of Grace and the Prize is the Lord Himself. James speaks of the “crown of life.” He states that the Lord has promised the crown of life to all those that love Him. We receive His life when we are born again by the work of the Holy Spirit. As we enter into His life, we find that this natural life is full of trails determined to hinder our progress. You are blessed as you persevere through those trials. Although the life of Christ is presently in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, there is a promised day approaching when we will enter into the fullness of His life. We will be crowned with His Glory and enjoy His presence constantly. Receiving God’s love and ministering it back to Him in doing His will assures us of the promise. Only in the power of the Holy Spirit can we successfully persevere under trial.

Today, cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. Ask the Holy Spirit for strength to “persevere under trial.” Keep drawing from the Comforter, who is an ever-present help in time of need.