Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial
James 1:12 (New American Standard Bible)
Blessed is a 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.
Following Jesus can be hard and difficult at times. But there is a purpose in every trial. Every trial we face is allowed into our lives for the sole purpose of refining us and deepening our faith and maturity in the Lord.
No one grows in the place of comfort. As a former athlete and long time coach, I know this better than anything. When working with athletes if you desire to get the very best out of them you have to push them. As a coach who cares and loves your athletes, you will push them progressively.
It is not wise to take an athlete who has never trained properly and put them through a workout at the level a professional athlete who is well trained will work at. But if you begin to push them at a level and intensity they can handle, their body and mind will adapt to the training, and as you progressively push them, they will continue to improve and grow.
This same principle works in our relationship with Jesus Christ. God knows within everyone of His children is the potential for greatness. But what often robs us of walking in our potential and destiny in Christ often is the desire for comfort. We come to Christ often believing and sometimes being told that Jesus wants to make us happy and simply improve the quality of our lives.
I will not deny that serving Christ will greatly improve ones life. If we live in a place of surrender, we will actually experience the abundant life that Christ spoke of. But it requires surrender and often times there are painful seasons God uses to refine us and prune us.
Our Father in Heaven knows that needs to be cut from our lives. He knows what is sucking the spiritual life out of us and if it is removed and cut away, will make room for greater growth. But this is the purpose of trials. They bring us to a place of surrender and fully relying on Christ.
That is why the blessing is truly found in perseverance. This is a concept that is foreign to many in this generation. We have gotten so use to being handed everything and the comforts of this world, that suffering for Christ seems foreign. But for the for believers throughout history and even in other parts of the world, suffering is a regular part of the Christian life.
The bottom line is if we desire to accomplish great things for God, we will go through trials. We can't be surprised by trials, but actually should thank God for every trial. It is the trials we face that mold and shape us to be the man or woman of God that our Father has destined us to be.