I find God's Word to be an endless source of encouragement and conviction -- often at the same time. Today my reading brought me to James 1:12-15.
"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."
Last September I attended a Women's Retreat and the speaker, Debi Pride, challenged us to read the word "Blessed" as "How Happy." So in coming to this passage the first thing I read is How Happy is the man who remains steadfast under trial. Wow, so if I am steadfast and endure the trial, I will be truly happy (not the flittering happiness that the world pursues). What an encouragement to continue to endure. However, I am also reminded of the opposite. If I choose to quite the trial, or to throw a pity party for myself, or any other choice than to trust God I will be miserable. This truly is a conviction to my spirit this morning. I am frequently seeking new ways to get out of my personal trial. Yet, this is not what God has planned for me. God has promised that if I endure He will give me the crown of life.
Continuing to verse 13, the word "Trials" has been translated "temptation." "James' point is that every difficult circumstance that enters a believer's life can either strengthen him if he obeys God and remains confident in His care, or become a solicitation to evil if the believer chooses instead to doubt God and disobey His Word. God cannot be tempted. God by His holy nature has no capacity for evil, or vulnerability to it. Nor does He Himself tempt anyone. God purposes trials to occur and in them He allows temptation to happen, but He has promised not to allow more than believers can endure and never without a way of escape. I choose whether to take the escape God provides or to give in.
My prayer today is that I will endure the trial so that I can truly say "God is my strength."