James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
This passage in the book of James is instructing us to count it joy when we are met with trials of various kinds. In other words, if you are going through a challenging situation, hardship, pain, and suffering count it all joy. How is it possible to count suffering and trials as joy? As Christians, we are not to think like the world. Instead, we have a different perspective. We must learn to see all things through God’s word and from God’s perspective rather than our wisdom.
To understand this passage, we must read the surrounding passages in context. So I encourage you to take some time to read James 1:2-12. The word “trials” describes things or situations that put a person to the test. These can be external tests, and at other times it can be inner tests such as an internal moral test like temptations to sin. James explains that these trials are a reason to rejoice because of the wholesome effects they produce.
James 1:3 says that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. When you have true faith and face trials, it can develop in you “perseverance”. In other words, someone who can face the storm and stand firm in its midst. Someone who has a “keep going” mentality whilst having determination. This, in turn, builds up your spiritual stamina. The result of facing such trials is given to us in James 1:4, saying that you may be “perfect and complete” lacking in nothing when this steadfastness has its full effect.
The problem is that some people have a perception that once you become a Christian, you will be problem-free. Some even go as far as to say that if you do not overcome your problems, then it is your fault because of your lack of faith. This type of reasoning can lead to you questioning your belief in God and God’s love for you. It is also unbiblical!
Friends, what the Bible teaches is quite the opposite of this perception. The scriptures teach us that trials are a part of life, and in fact, we must expect them. Like we read in James 1:2, as Christians, we must expect trials, and when we are in the midst of it, we must count it as joy because God is doing a work in you so that you may be perfect and complete.
Likewise, 1 Peter 1:6-7 says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
So, trials are not something that is not effective or useful for us. Instead, God uses them to turn it for His good and to do a transforming work in your life. You can grow solid through trials. Do not consider trials as some sort of punishment, curse, or calamity; instead, view it as an opportunity for God to work in your life.
You see, the joy in your trials must come from your love and affection for God. When you know God, His attributes, His goodness, His sovereignty, then you will be able to rest in the joy of the Lord. Seek to find your satisfaction in Christ. Do not let the situation around you determine it; instead, may it be because of your love for the Almighty God and His incomprehensible love for you.
If you fail to grasp this, then seek God for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
Having joy does not mean that you need to dismiss your trials and suffering. You do not have to minimize the situation you are in or the emotions that come with it. Instead, through them, we have joy because we can look at our problem with a godly perspective knowing that God will use our trials ultimately for the glory of God. Knowing that God will mould us to be more like Christ through the test, having the ability to rest and hope in God. Amen!