Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life. —James 1:12
How you react to the trial you now have will determine whether you pass the test or not and hear God say, "Well done." Jesus passed many tests in His earthly life before He came to the final one, but along the way as He would pass tests, He would get the word from the Father, "You are my Son whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
That is what kept the Lord Jesus going. He actually had joy all along. Did you know that? It was not just the joy that was set before Him. He said in John 15:11, "I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and that your joy may be complete." All of us who have sat through exams of any sort know that sometimes you have to retake an exam or its equivalent. That is the way it is in this world. Only the very clever avoid this.
But in the kingdom of God it is not that way. Intellectual aptitude has nothing to do with it. Neither has social standing or class or any other worldly consideration. All Christians can go to the university of the Holy Spirit. The difficulty is that some have not even passed grammar school. They come up to a certain level and they blow it. Why?
They complained all the way through. They could not resist murmuring; they could not resist judging somebody, or gossiping, or holding a grudge. God gives them a trial on a silver platter, yet when it ends, they are still the same. But Jesus went straight through to the finals, because He never sinned along the way. He did it all in thirty-three years. God gives most of us more time than that. Three score and ten is the average: time enough for us to pass the tests that He sets before us.
Excerpted from Meekness and Majesty (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1992, 2000).