“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Testing—“That by which something is tried and proven.” According to this passage, trials test (or prove) faith. And faith develops perseverance, which is necessary if we are going to be spiritually mature. Most believers would likely agree with this truth. But, what about the joy? How many of us consider it pure joy to face trials?
The problem for many of us isn’t a lack of knowledge. The problem is a divided heart. In order to find joy in the midst of trials, Christ and His glory must be the object of our heart’s affection. In every situation, our goal must be to know Him more and to reflect His character. Only when this is true can we have joy when our faith is being tested.
Perseverance is not easy. Just ask any long-distance runner. It hurts to keep running when everything in you longs to stop. The motivation to continue is the reward. The same is true spiritually. Considering it joy to face trials does not mean that we enjoy the hardship. God is not asking us to be happy to have cancer or to lose a job. Jesus was not happy when He went to the cross…but “for the joy set before Him” He endured (Hebrews 12:2). The joy comes because our hearts are fixed on Jesus—He is our reward. And to be mature in Him we must learn to persevere.
So, if you are struggling to have joy when your faith is tested, examine your heart. Where do your affections lie? Take heart and persevere! The reward is worth the hardship.
Jesus, You are my reward. Please help me to remember this when I face the trials that test my faith. I want to be found faithful, Lord. Help me to rely on Your strength to persevere. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.