Consider It All Joy
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:1-4 (NASB)
I have been hearing from a good number of women who are enduring some very difficult circumstances. One of the things we want to know is how our trials can be “good” when they hurt so much? How can abandonment by a spouse be a good thing? How can I rejoice when my husband loses his job? James Chapter 1:2 – 12 covers the topic of how Christians profit from trials.
Our Trials Are Good
James says concerning trials, that we are to consider them all joy for a variety of reasons. First, all our trials are good and come from God. I know we really struggle with that. We truly do not like hearing that, it conflicts with the idea that God is Santa Claus and wants us to be happy all the time. That is patently false. God is much more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. Trials are one way He makes us holy.
Our Trials Develop Perseverance
Secondly, trials help us to develop patience, which is another form of the word perseverance. When we respond rightly to our trials God will use them to affect the whole of who we are. This is what is meant by being perfect and complete in James 1:4 (see also Philippians 3:15). Trials are also preparing us for eternal things which we do not presently see (Matthew 5:48; 1 John 3:2). We will face trials throughout our lives, and even right up to the end of our lives. This is intentional on God’s part for he wants us to continue to learn and grow in a variety of areas as we go through life.
Our Trials Help Us Grow Wise
Because of trials, we grow in wisdom. Being smart is not the same as being wise. Wisdom is practical skill at living to the glory of God. I would also say that wisdom is the ability to look at life from God’s perspective. As we face trials, God intends for us to turn to the Scriptures to know how to respond and to build our faith. The faith God wants to build in us rests in the person of Christ and an understanding of who God is. As we pray and consider the trial before us, we will make decisions based on trusting who God is as revealed in the Scriptures. This will prevent us from being unstable and double minded (v.7).
Wisdom will also help us to understand that trials and temptations have different origins. Any event can be a trial that will build up our faith. It can also be an event that will draw out evil, depending on how it is processed in the heart. The faithful heart will reveal faith in God’s agenda and the selfish heart will insist on one’s own agenda. Therefore, trials make us bitter or better.
Those Who Love God Will Persevere And Endure
We all will endure trials. James uses the example of being rich or poor to illustrate that with God the playing field is level in that regard. God doesn’t play favorites. The victory is not to the rich or poor woman, but to the one who is victorious through suffering and shows her love for God. Endurance is evidence of our faith (v. 12) and endurance and love for God are linked. The one who is victorious is the one who loves God enough to endure the trial and remain faithful. Jesus said, if you love me you will obey me, and James says those who love God will persevere and endure. That’s very important. James is pointing out they are blessed because they’ve endured temptation and that is linked to receiving this crown for those who love him. Those who love God will endure. Those who love God will persevere. Questions to ask yourself are, are you persevering? Is your attitude of one being patient in trials desiring these trials so you can grow?
If so, then press on! If not, then today is the day of your repentance! Examine yourself, and determine to honor God in your trial. He is worth it.