Verse: James 1:2-4
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
As we read James’ letter, we are encouraged to find joy in our trials and the tests of life. These moments of life are opportunities for the Lord to use our faith in Him to create perseverance in us. That perseverance helps each of us to become the individual that God wants us to be.
How does all of that make you feel, in light of the trials and tests that you are going through these days?
Personally, there are times when I have felt uplifted when reading these verses. I’ve been thankful to God for how He helps me and I’ve been ready to take on anything that comes my way. At other times, and especially recently, I’ve found it very challenging to find joy in my trials and test of life. I would prefer that whatever is making me uncomfortable just stop or go away. Sometimes, I just avoid it. Or, I’d rather blame others. Other times, I get discouraged thinking of how I’m not as good at this practice as other people who follow Jesus. Honestly, I would just rather not have my faith tested and have to face hard questions about life and myself.
Are you considering it pure joy?
But, what is this joy that we are supposed to have? Is it smiling and saying, “It’s all good!” every time something bad or challenging comes along? Or, facing life by saying “whatever doesn’t kill me will make me stronger?”
A positive attitude, and confidence, in the face of a trial certainly helps. Especially, when we gain that attitude and confidence from the Lord. But, sometimes, trials and tests that we face really aren’t good. They can often be terrible and feel crushing.
If I’m learning correctly from the Lord, it seems to me that the joy that James wrote about it is more than just our positive attitude. It’s not our everyday happiness. What I’m finding in my walk with Jesus is that joy is a confidence that God our Heavenly Father cares and is watching over me (and you). That He knew this trial would come, even before I did. That Jesus is interceding every moment of every day to provide help for us. That the Holy Spirit is with us and knows all that we are going through. That Jesus has lived through the same challenges. That He has the answers.
What are the answers to the test?
So, how do we get the answers to the tests that we are going through? What should we do?
For me, I’m finding that this means that I need to realize that I don’t know everything and that I need help. So, I go to and talk with the Lord and learn from Him. Kind of like tutoring works in school. He has the answers for us. After all, Jesus went through the all of the tests just like us.
For instance, when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness for 40 days, Jesus was being tested. And, He showed us the answers.
First, the Holy Spirit led Him there. And, for those of us who follow Jesus, we know that His Holy Spirit is living inside of us.
Test Answer 1: So, in our tests, if we communicate with Him, listening for His voice and talking with Him through prayer, we can see where He wants to lead us in the trial.
Next, in His testing, Jesus relied on the Word of God for truth. He quoted Scripture that focused on life through God’s Word, appreciation of what the Lord has done instead of complaining and in turn testing Him, and worship and service to the Lord.
Test Answer 2: When you are being tested, hear or read the Word of God from the Bible. The Lord will reveal truth that you need for your trial.
Test Answer 3: Thank God for what He has done in your life already. Remember the tests and trials that He has brought you through, and ask Him for help again.
Test Answer 4: Worship the Lord. Think about how wonderful and loving He is, and ask Him to help you see how He is greater than your test or trial.
What’s the value of the test?
As we read James’ encouragement, we find that the testing of our faith is actually a good thing that will produce perseverance. As James wrote, as we go through this, our faith in the Lord will allow us to face the challenges that come next. And, thankfully, we will become mature and complete, as we grow stronger in that faith, which the Lord wants to give us.
Father God, please help us in our trials and our testing. Thank you for your Son, Jesus. Jesus, help us to remember to come to you for the answers to our tests. And, Holy Spirit, please guide us on the right paths and walk us through our challenges. We look forward to growing in you. Thank you so much for loving us! Amen.
Author: Chris Fraser