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.James 1:12
Blessing. To live the ‘blessed’ life. This is what our hearts long for, and rightfully so because it’s what we were created for. We were created to live in a perfect blessed relationship with God. However, due to sin, we’ve lost that true blessedness, so we try to make it up. We strive to live lives that we can parade before the world as blessed. We do this with things, accomplishments, money, you name it. But that’s not what true blessing is. To be ‘blessed’ or to live the ‘blessed’ life, as James puts it here, is to “remain steadfast under trial.” It’s faithfulness to God even amidst the hardest times, that defines true blessedness.
The Lord Jesus is the only person in the history of the world, that we can say without a doubt, lived the truly blessed life. He alone was perfectly faithful. He alone remained “steadfast under trial.” In the garden of Gethsemane, as he was sweating drops of blood while peering into the cup of God’s wrath that was about to be poured out on him for us, he said, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt 26:39).
Jesus honestly asked to get out of it! He asked if there could be any other way. Yet, Jesus yielded to his Father in faith that his Father knew what he was doing. True blessedness is yielding to God–he who knows the beginning from the end–and true blessedness is found in faithfulness that is willing even to die if it means following God.
Jesus alone deserved the crown of life given to those that remained steadfast under trial. He alone deserved the reward that comes to those who stand the test and remain lovingly faithful to God. Instead, he received our crown of thorns. He was crowned with our cursedness so that we could be crowned with his blessedness. The crown that we wore–the crown that we chose–was put on his head so that the crown that he wore would be put on ours.
If you’re simply working to be a somebody here—to be remembered as a blessed person—on the pages of history you’ve set your sights too low. True blessedness is not achieved here. The blessing that your heart longs for–the blessedness you were created for–is found in and through a life of faithful endurance to God. It’s found at the end of a life marked by God’s abundant grace and your repentant faithfulness.
That blessed life you long for will be perfected in the presence of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. By faith in Christ, now, you can stand justified (free from the penalty of sin) but on that day you will stand glorified (free from the presence of sin). In Christ, your destiny is to wear the crown at the end of a life of faithful endurance. The blessing your heart longs for is found only in faithfulness to our God. Faithfulness over a lifetime that ends in glory.