Count It All Joy
Today's Reading: Ezekiel 11-13; James 1
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2-3
In our Discipleship Program, we closely examine the biblical teaching on trials. How often do we find joy in the midst of our trials? Can we realistically count it all joy today? Does this statement by James even make sense? Let us examine these verses more closely and see if we can better understand what James is saying. One of the main reasons for us to read and study the Bible is not just to learn meaning and content, but also to learn how to apply its principles to our lives. So, what is God saying to us about trials, faith and patience from these verses?
Since this first statement comes right after the greetings in verse 1, we can assuredly note its importance. In these two verses, there are three main points: we will fall into different types of trials, our faith will be tested, and patience will be produced from the testing. James is not trying to be politically correct and he is not concerned about offending anyone. He is stating the facts.
We deal with all kinds of trials in our lives. The issue is not if we will have them, it is how we will get through them. When we feel as though the battle is too much and the struggles are too intense, how do we respond? Difficulties with marriage, kids, finances, health and daily issues of life can seem overwhelming at times. But James says to "count it all joy" when these problems come. We can only begin to understand the meaning of this statement if we look at the results in our own lives.
God's goal in allowing us to experience various trials is to make us grow stronger, to learn patience, and to develop a deeper faith in our walk with God. We can choose to "count it all joy" as we go through them because we have the assurance in God's word that the end result will benefit our faith. How many times have you looked back after a trial has passed and recognized the benefits it produced in your life? So often, we get the point after the fact. We tend to acknowledge the blessings after the trial is over. "Oh, now I see what God was doing." Trials and testing can produce patience. There is not much we can do about avoiding such things in life; however, we can decide how to get through them.
If you find yourself in trials today, ask the Lord to help you find joy through His Holy Spirit so that you will come through the testing with an increased patience, strength and faith.
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