“Indeed, we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).
All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). So, how do you cope with and conquer such adversity and difficulty? How do you resist the temptation to retaliate when defrauded and mistreated? How do you live as a victor over—not a victim of—your circumstances?
James inspired counsel (vv. 7-11) for dealing with adversity begins with: Take a long look forward, Fortify your heart, Avoid grumbling, and Take a careful look backward.
He concludes his practical instruction with a final admonition: Keep your eyes on the prize. Incredible accomplishments are not achieved by doing common, ordinary things. To win an Iron Man Triathlon competition, for example, you not only have to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a marathon of 26+ miles, you have to do it faster than everyone else in the race. To start such a race thinking you will never break a sweat or face any adversity while swimming, biking, and running is to be the poster child of naivete.
When adversity in the form of muscle cramps, blisters, thirst, hunger, and/or exhaustion arises, an essential to finishing the race is to keep your eyes on the prize. The blessing of hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21) will make all the adversity you faced and conquered worth it.
Having your name added to Heaven’s Hall of Faith and receiving God’s compassionate and merciful blessings because of your perseverance are incredible accomplishments.
Keep your eyes on the prize.