"Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." James 1:12 (NRSV)
A new and growing sporting event is called the Tough Mudder. It is an obstacle course commonly around 3 miles (5K) in length. Obstacles differ but include crawling, climbing, hurdling, and running. As the name suggests, mud is involved. Anyone who has endured basic training will be able to identify with the event--without drill sergeants barking at you.
We may never participate in a Tough Mudder, but we all face obstacles in life; temptation is one such obstacle, except it’s usually the things we previously found--or at least thought--were enjoyable. Satan is sly like that exploiting our defenses at the weakest point. But our ability to endure that temptation, to make it through to the other side, is a blessing. God is with us each step of the way, encouraging and cheering us on. Our reward is not just an event t-shirt or medal, but a crown of life. Now that is something to get excited about!
God, we give you thanks for the promise that comes from endurance. You want us to succeed so badly that you sent your Son to atone for our sins. You sent the Holy Spirit to us to give us the strength and courage to overcome any obstacles. We look to you to help us stand the test this day brings, and we anticipate the future crown that awaits. Amen.