Lenten reflection for Monday, March 11, 2019 – The crown of life

Prepare
What have been the toughest mental and physical challenges you’ve faced in your life? What motivated you to hang in there to the end?

Read James 1:12-15
12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

Explore
Where does temptation come from (v 13-14)?
Where does temptation lead, if it is not resisted (v 15)?

Apply
What are the particular temptations you face when you are facing trials and temptations?
What thought process have verses 13-18 taught you to go through, and encourage others to go through, when temptation comes?
The Crown of Life: “The Greek term, stephanon tes zoes (the crown of life), is a rich expression of hope. The believer who endures trials by trusting God will have a life that, though not full of glory and honor, is still truly abundant, joyful, and victorious. Standing the tests of life gives believers even now a taste of eternity. But the struggles also lead to eternal life—the promise of glory in God’s presence forever (see Revelation 2:10). We do not compete against each other, but against our own sins and against the course laid out for us (see Hebrews 12:1–2). So all who finish the race by keeping their faith in the face of suffering and temptation will be declared winners. Looking forward to that wonderful reward, and to the one who will present it to us, can be a source of strength and encouragement in times of trial (see also 1 Corinthians 9:24–27; 2 Timothy 4:7–8).” Barton, Bruce B., David Veerman, and Neil S. Wilson. James. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1992. Print. Life Application Bible Commentary.
How does this vision of a crown of life impact your motivation to fight the good fight, and hang in there until the end?

Pray
Pray for anyone in your church who you know is facing a particularly difficult trial right now.
Ask God to give you the strength to hang in there until you cross the finish line!

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