Day 21: Hold Fast
“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.”
Here we see James encourage us to consider it pure joy when we face trials, a few sentences later in his letter, he circles back to remind believers that we are blessed by God when we persevere – remain steadfast – under trial. There is a holiness about remaining steadfast with a settled confidence in God when everything around us is unsettled and begging for our anxiety.
We’ve heard that the greek word for perseverance means to “hold fast” and not buckle under the weight of the difficulties we face. But what are we holding fast to? We must be clinging to something, or in this case, Someone, in order to steady ourselves, plant our feet, and withstand the times of faith-testing that come upon us.
In holding fast to God, we are to cling to every promise he’s made to us as our motivation for perseverance. He has promised to be a refuge and strong tower. (Psalm 61:3) He has promised goodness to us and compassion for us. (Psalm 145:9) He has promised no trial will last one moment longer than is necessary. (Psalm 30:5) He has promised to never leave or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) He has promised to vindicate his people and that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. (Isaiah 54:17) He has promised us beauty from ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (Isaiah 61:3) The promises of God are based in the perfection of his character, and his unfathomable mercy toward his people. He is who we are to cling to in order to remain steadfast.
But as if God hasn’t already provided us with an abundance of treasures in himself and his promises, he has also guaranteed that when we remain steadfast and persevere under trial, we will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. Let this bolster your faith and tighten your grip today. Hold fast.
Father, we know what your word says about receiving the crown of life after we’ve persevered, but often the trial itself can threaten to sap our strength and our ability to hold fast. Would you grace us with a steady reminder of your promises and renew our strength to stand firm? Give us glimpses of your sustaining mercy all around us.