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James 1:2-4 - Consider it Joy...

James 1:2-4:  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

Shortly after identifying himself and the recipients of his letter, James gets straight to the matter at hand. He proceeds to instruct the redeemed people of God how to live in the world.

 

James begins his instructions by advising his readers to consider it pure joy whenever facing trials of many kinds. James confirms very quickly that being a Christian does not shelter one from adversity; Christians will face trials; in fact, Christians will face trials of many kinds.

 

James is not suggesting that trials, in and of themselves, are a source of joy. James would easily acknowledge that trouble hurts, trials are painful, and loss is difficult.

 

What James is speaking about here is how each person can respond in the face of these inevitable circumstances. Believers are encouraged to embrace trials, not so much for what they are, not for the sake of just having something difficult to go through, but for what God sovereignly accomplishes through them.

 

James continues to explain that God uses our trials “of many kinds” to test our faith. These trials test, first of all, whether or not our faith is genuine and, secondly, whether or not we are actually growing in our faith.

 

When the testing of our faith is significant and is succeeded upon, it produces perseverance or steadfastness. Perseverance, however, is not the end goal; God has something bigger in mind. Through the testing of our faith, God brings us to maturity and completion. He completes the good work that he has begun in us (Philippians 1:6). That good work that he brings to completion, says James, is to make us like Jesus.

 

James reminds us that in trials we experience growth in Godliness like we could never experience any other way. Whatever trial it is, and whenever we face it, we can find some hope and occasions to consider it “joy” because we know that now we have a chance to turn this little faith into something of significance.

 

Consider it joy, James says. How do we do that? The joy is found in the knowledge that God is still in authority. Knowing this helps us to approach our trials with a new perspective. We can face trials based on what we KNOW and not what we FEEL. This type of mentality/ lifestyle takes genuine mature faith and requires a radically God-centered perspective on life.


Reflection Questions:

How have you seen God bring good into your life through trials?


How has your relationship with God changed as you have gone through trials?


How do these truths encourage or rebuke you?

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