There was a famous song in the 1980’s by the group Journey titled “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” which has a lot of spiritual validity when it comes to not looking on what you can see but to continue to believe for what you cannot see to eventually manifest in the here and now. James 1:12 NIV states “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
James continues the thought that he began in verse 2 where he called on believes to call hard times as joyful things. Why? Because our faith only strengthens when we endure trials and overcome them. When we trust the Lord through breaking through tough experiences, then we grow in our maturity in Christ to trust Him due to each trial that we have overcome. We essentially become more like Christ with each and every tribulation that we get through. It is a choice to continue to trust God in the midst of the trial and then the Lord brings more blessing. Our circumstances may be very challenging but God is on our side to see us through.
Those who continue to have faith in God during the hardships in life will receive “the crown of life.” What does that mean? Some Bible scholars think it means eternal life itself. However, given the context of the Scripture, this is an unlikely interpretation. Eternal life is not dependent upon our works or faithfulness (Titus 3:5). A more likely explanation is that it means the reward for perseverance is improved circumstances in the here and now. This would be consistent with Jesus’ words regarding the effect of faith on our current quality of life (John 10:10 NKJV “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
What I have seen in my personal life is that the Lord has allowed me to endure some extreme personal sacrificial living to help others who treated me with extreme harshness. During the process of continuing to love them like Christ, I changed to become more like Christ with every challenge. Even though the circumstances did not change for years, I was able to see them in the spirit as Christ saw them. As a hurting little girl or boy who was affected by a demonic spirit causing them to be tormented, and thus tormenting me. I realized it was not them, but the enemy spirit within them. This allowed me to give them more grace then I usually would have had I just focused on the outward attacks of me.
Then after enduring a season of many years of loving them like Christ, giving everything I owned to one of them, the Lord finally took me out of the trial telling me that I passed. I accomplished all that the Lord had asked me to endure. Then He began to bless me with a ministry to help people around the world to encourage them that they could also persevere through their own unpleasant circumstances and eventually when they passed the tests, that they would also be awarded with the crown of life on earth. That the Lord would begin to bless them with His love, joy and favor that no man could stop. As long as they lived a life of purity, honesty, integrity and humbleness, that the enemy could not stop what the Lord would do in their life. And it would all be worth the struggles of their past.
I have met thousands of people around the world who are currently going through some pretty extreme circumstances and my heart is compassionate towards them. But I always encourage them that they can get through the trial and that the more extreme the tribulation, the more extreme the anointing from the Lord is once you have passed the test. When I was enduring an extreme season of sacrifice for my wife, I cried out to the Lord many times asking him how much longer did I have to go through it. He only responded with “It will be worth it in the end.” It was an extreme season of pain for me as I did not have a day that was not agonizing in every way as I had no peace due to the extreme enemy spirits that were manifesting through my spouse. After six long, excruciating years of suffering the Lord finally called me to separate with the hopes of getting her delivered.
Finally I was able to live in peace, yet still had to go through some battles, but yet had faith that the Lord would be faithful to me because I proved faithful to Him. It took another two years of additional sacrifice financially where I had to give my own blood (plasma) in order to make just enough money to pay for my bills and food. Then the Lord finally began to bless me with his Supernatural provision as my ministry began to grow. Then other favor came from Him on a daily basis. It was so rewarding but i was 50 years old before it began, as I had endured some extreme things which allowed me to have experience for the current ministry that the Lord has taken me into. I now work with people who are suffering in their own life situations (divorce, children who are extremely hard to love, financial limitations, father wounds) and can relate to them now.
Had I not endured the various tribulations and chose to give up before seeing it to conclusion, the Lord would not have been able to bless me with His favor because I would have stopped believing. So as you are going through your various tribulations, keep your faith on, and do not give up before you have accomplished all that the Lord is taking you through. Realize that suffering greatly produces a greater anointing in the Lord and that it will all be worth it in the end. You can do it. God wants to provide you with a crown of life here on earth and then eventually when your life is completed here you will receive an even greater reward for eternity. It is all worth the pain that you endure here, so don’t stop believin’ !!!