James 1:2-3, “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
James wrote that our trials equal God’s pure joy. How can this be true? How are we supposed to consider facing various trials and hardships in life as “pure joy?” Such trials as sickness, death, betrayal and even murder (which the church was facing at this time from persecution)… either James is playing a cruel joke on us or he is living in fairy-tale-land playing “make believe,” right?
We need to properly understand the verses above if we are to consider it pure joy when we face various trials like the early church faced (Christians fed to lions, burned alive and impaled) and rejoice. As a result, the key to understanding the joy in trials is found in verse three where James writes, “the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
We are not rejoicing in the trial itself, we are rejoicing in the outcome of the trial. For example, if your child turns his back on God after you raised him in the fear and admonition of the Lord, you don’t rejoice and say, “I’m so happy right now because my child has turned away from God. This trial is pure joy!” God forbid. Instead, you are to rejoice and say, “I praise God for this trial and count it as pure joy, because I know my faith will get stronger through this and God will increase my perseverance to see this trial through to the end!” Augustine wrote, “Trials come to prove and improve us.”
In other words, every trial you face is producing a deeper faith and perseverance in your life. This faith and perseverance will result in great blessings in this life and in the eternal life to come.
Don’t allow discouragement and depression to come when you face various trials (as if God is not in control). Instead, rejoice and trust that God is allowing you to go through this time of testing to increase your faith and perseverance. You will make it through the trial stronger than when you started!
- Think about two trials you’re facing today.
- Now, rejoice for the promised outcome you will have when the trial passes.
- Trust God that He is with you and will bring you through whatever you’re facing.