Friday after Ash Wednesday – February 20, 2015

Today’s Reading: James 1:12-18

“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

What a great blessing is promised to us: the crown of life. Remain steadfast under trial, withstand the test, and you will inherit the kingdom of life. It is a great blessing, but a mixed blessing for us sinners. As St. James goes on to say, “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.” We have all experienced this growth of death. When the trials and tests come, we are undone by our own warped desires.

We must be steadfast and withstand the test, but we cannot do so ourselves. Rather, “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.” Jesus, God’s good and perfect gift, is the one Man who has remained steadfast under every trial and withstood every test. And faithful to the end, He accepted the crown of thorns so that we might receive the crown of life. Having received Him, we are strengthened against the attacks of the evil one and our own sin, and we are rescued when we fall. And so by clinging to Jesus, we are brought through every trial and test until we come to the kingdom of life.

Prayer: O my Savior, help afford By Your Spirit and Your Word! When my wayward heart would stray, Keep me in the narrow way; Grace in time of need supply While I live and when I die. (Chief of Sinners Though I Be, LSB 611:5).

 

This devotion was written by Rev. Sean Hanson, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Mount Vernon, IA.

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