Count it All Joy
In James 1:2 James said, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” You might be thinking just now, “Is he kidding? Please tell me he’s kidding!” No, friend, he is very serious; but I can understand why you may be so alarmed. After all, who enjoys hardship and struggles? But you see he is not encouraging us to fall in love with suffering, but rather to see the spiritual good that can result from enduring sufferings. (So don’t be going around saying, “Wow, I hope I get beat up by the bully at school today,” or, “I hope I’ll be the victim of road rage today”).
Here is the point: “count it all joy…knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (vv. 3-4). This is about spiritual maturity. We might call it “growing pains.” Enduring (by faith) one difficultly better prepares us for a harder one (and they are coming). Think of it, before David had to even think of fighting Goliath, God prepared him for that difficulty by allowing him to face lions and bears (1 Sam. 17:32-37). Peter saw the value of trials by indicating that we are like gold that is tested by fire (1 Pet. 1:6-7). Why is gold placed in the crucible of fire? To burn out the impurities; then it will be “pure” gold. So “count it all joy,” or as Jesus put it, “rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven” (Matt. 5:11-12). The apostles certainly understood this (Acts 5:40-41). Do you?