The Joy of Hardness

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James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

Everybody seeks joy in life, but joy is not found where most people seek to find it. Most seek joy through pleasures and entertainment but don't realize that joy comes from enduring the hardness of trials. Those who you see as the most joyful in life are probably those who have endured the hardest of trials. When I look at my church, those who are filled with joy are those who carry heavy burdens. They have found that the burden is what allowed them to have the joy of God’s presence helping them.

In James 1, we find that joy comes through hardness. Before you ever find joy, you must endure trials. Before you can have patience, you must fight battles. Before someone is spiritually mature, they must have the endurance to outlast the trials in their life. Before wisdom can be obtained are obstacles that cause you not to know what to do. Before exaltation is the lowness of degree. Hard work and endurance are the daily tasks before the crown is ever worn. All I’m trying to point out is that you don't find joy without having to endure hardness. Several principles are found in this truth that every person needs to learn.

First, everyone needs to work themselves up from the bottom. Nobody should be handed the crown without first being a servant. A college degree is not given without someone being a freshman in college. Nobody becomes the supervisor without first being hired to the low-level position. What I am trying to point out is that joy comes from working yourself up from the lowest of positions. If position is handed to you, you will never appreciate the hard work, trials and patience it took to get that position. No child should be handed position or wealth, but they should work for it because they will appreciate it much more when they get it. Wealth and position obtained without hard work causes one not to appreciate how hard it is to get to that position. Everyone should work themselves up from the bottom.

Second, blessings do not come without hard times. You want to be the owner of the business without digging ditches, but it is the hard times of digging ditches that shows you how to be a good owner. You want God’s blessings without hard times, but it is making it through the hard times that makes God’s blessings much better. God’s blessings are always good, but they become better when you look at what you endured and worked for to get them.

Third, don’t let the hardness cause you to quit. Many quit when it gets hard, but they don't realize that the next step after hardness is the blessing. How can God know that you are trustworthy enough to handle the blessing without first sending you through hard times? It is when you choose not to run when the hard times come that proves to God that you are worthy of His blessings. If you quit when times get tough, you will never find the blessings that you desire.

Fourth, the crown is a reward for not quitting. Part of the blessing once you get the crown is looking back and seeing that all that you endured was worth it. My friend, the crown will never be placed on your head if quitting becomes your default switch to hard times. Don't let the hard times stop you, but let them define your strength not to quit, and you will find the crown of blessings if you keep going.

Dr. Allen Domelle


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