Consider it pure joy when facing trials!
James 1:2 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds…” I don’t know about you but joy it not the first thing that comes to mind when I am facing trials. In most instances, when trials come our way we have to work through fear, doubt, unbelief, worry, anger, depression, etc…. we’ve all been there at some point in our life. But I’ve never hear anyone say, “Oh joy! Here comes another trial!”
I believe in James 1, we are able to get some perspective on why when we go through trials, we should consider it “pure joy”. James 1:3-4 says, “…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.” Well, my first question would be what exactly is perseverance? According to dictionary.com, perseverance is “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement; and a continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.” So in other words, in the midst of trials, we can develop persistence in the face of difficulty. Now this could only happen if we make a choice to not give up in the midst of trials, but instead give in to the leading of Holy Spirit.
But how will you know what to do in the midst of trials you ask? Well James 1:5 answers that question, it says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Right there it is saying, when you are in the midst of your trials and you don’t know how to get through the testing of your faith, ask God. Surely He will give you wisdom on how to get through it. But also understand that verses 6 through 8 go on to say, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
Seems kind of harsh right? Well, let’s think about this….If you were sick and you went to see a physician about your illness, the physician may give you an antibiotic and a regime that needs to be followed through in order to cure the sickness. Now if you only complete half of the regime or better yet totally discard the physician’s instructions and do none of it, the first question would be why did you go to the physician in the first place? Did you really believe that he was able to help you? You might as well have done nothing if you were not going to follow the instructions you were given. It’s the same with our heavenly Father, when we go to Him about issues that we are having or trials we are in, very often He gives us instructions to follow, but from there we must make a decision to actually follow them, even if we do not understand.
I personally have learned that when I am going through trials, the Lord often uses those instances to work on the condition of my heart. When I fully yield to Him in these situations, deliverance and growth takes place in my life. We have to see our trials in a different way; they are opportunities for deliverance and growth, “so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” But the key here is we must look to Him for His wisdom in these trying situations, then believe in Him enough to actually complete the instructions He has given us. That is when we will see deliverance and growth happen.
When we do not truly believe and do not follow His instructions, then we will be tossed to and fro by anything that comes our way. God and His Word, Logos and Rhema, are our sure foundation, the very thing that we most hold fast to. He is our stronghold, our strong tower, when the righteous run to it they are safe! As we come through trials with the help of our Lord, these words become more than just “head knowledge” something we read in a book, they become “experiential knowledge” something we know through life experience. This type of knowledge makes us stronger, therefore we are able to persevere through all types of difficult situations, and we will be mature, complete, and lacking nothing.
So again Beloved, I say to you, “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.” James 1: 2-4 (NIV)