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Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Nov 14, 2002, 12:21

Welcome back to another installment of High Performance. We are taking a quick peek into the book of James and making some discoveries about how we can live a life that is a “high performance” existence. Over the first few days we have seen in the first twelve verses James has told us that trials or difficulties will come along, but we should take heart because they produce within us endurance.

Endurance is essential for Christians that are going to make a difference in the world today. We must remember, as it has been said, life is a marathon…not a sprint. Since we have covered that over the first few days, lets drop down to the next few verses, where James continues to expand on the same subject….

James 1:12-18 (NIV) 
    Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
    [13] When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; [14] but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. [15] Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
    [16] Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. [17] Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. [18] He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

As you can see James is continuing his theme of trials, but he expands on what he has said in verses 2-4. Notice that in verse 12 he tells us that trials bring blessedness because out of them one receives the crown of life.

Also let me remind you that in verses 2-4 the emphasis was on the joy of testing because it brings about maturity. Then here in verses 13-15 he looks at the source of failure during trying times. He clearly reminds us that the failures and setbacks are not the doing of God; instead they are the failures of individuals.

What is this crown of life? That is a good question.

Crowns were worn at weddings and feasts (and were signs of joy) and they were given to winners of athletic competitions (they were signs of victory), they were also worn by royalty (as would be what the children and family of king would wear). This is a reference that James makes that was also made by Paul (Romans 5:1-5) and Peter (1 Peter 1:6-7), that reminds us of a crown that awaits us at the end of our trials, eternal life.

Please remember that we don’t get many trips around the planet in life as we know it, but there is more to life than we know it…it is eternity. What goes on in our lives here and now really does impact our eternity, so it is important that we live each and every moment to the fullest, and aggressively face life….rough times and easy times. It matters. The other thing to remember is that there is so much beyond this life as we know it. It is difficult to imagine, but it is true, and that is the hope that keeps us pressing on in the middle of unfriendly situations.

This is some of the stuff that James is trying to remind us of as he writes. As we end today, take a few minutes and thank God that there is more to this life that we can understand. Thank Him for the security of knowing that your eternity is locked in with Him, and remember that whatever you are facing today, will produce in you endurance and blessing. I know…. it doesn’t change the circumstances, but it does change your character

The adventure continues….

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