James 1 (ESV)
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
I have just finished the book of James in my personal reading. As I am going through the Bible in the ESV this time I will be using it for this book.
This verse of Scripture has been one that has been used often in times of trials, and rightfully so. James is writing to the believers of the early church who had been scattered from their homes because of persecution. They were living in trials every day on account of their faith. (Please do not consider a cold or the flu or something trivial as the trial of your faith. These were life-altering, never go back to normal trials that James is addressing.)
To these who had lost much on account of Christ James tell them to count the loss that that trial brought as joy. How can great loss be counted as joy? Great loss is just that, it is great loss. We grieve over great loss, we do not take joy in great loss. But this is exactly what James is teaching them and us. When God brings trials of great loss into our lives, He is doing so to strengthen our faith in Him and to develop our steadfast confidence in His goodness.
What have you lost that God used to strengthen you? At the end of the trial after you had been strengthened and made more steadfast in your faith, after you saw how the trial perfected you as a Christian and as a person, were you thankful for the lesson? Could you have learned the lesson apart from the trial? The old saying “hindsight is always 20/20” is true here. When the trial is past we can see what God was doing through it. God wants us to realize in the middle of the trial that He is in full control and that He is using this very trial of our faith to produce within us a steadfast faith and confidence in Him. Therefore, count the trial as a joy before it ends.
What a great time we had in church yesterday. I am thankful for our church and for those of you who come and make Grace for Life an important part of your week. The service exalted the Lord, the Lord’s Table drew us to the Savior, and the message brought us again to Mount Zion God’s heavenly home for all who come to Him through Christ.
We had fun with the McNiffs and the Schroeders during the Super Bowl last night. Our house loves people and we had a great time watching one team get way ahead and then fall behind.
Have a great day in the Lord,