“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
I’m always struck by the dichotomy of hope and reality in the opening lines of the book of James.
Right out of the gate, James begins with a rush of hope and positivity with, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers…” Not just joy, but pure joy. Immediately we think, “Oh, something good is coming!” Then James immediately finds his stride with the chaser of “whenever you face trials of many kinds…”
Wham! What? Trials?
Okay, not what we were expecting. Right? Yet, that’s kind of the overriding point. Trials come along. We aren’t exactly expecting them, but here they are. What am I supposed to do with them? Well, according to James, we’re supposed to consider them pure joy.
Pure joy in the trial might be a difficult pill to swallow, but it’s there nonetheless. And James answers that “what?” right there, too. “Because the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
Okay. Again we ask, what? I mean, trials? Pure joy? Come on! What’s the point of all that?
James doesn’t leave us hanging for a moment. He explains right quick that, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Oh. Mature and complete. Not lacking anything. Those are some compelling byproducts of trials.
Except maybe the “mature” part, because maturity is for old people and we’re all way too young and don’t really like the whole “be mature” thing. But I digress.
Mature. Complete. Not lacking. I like the sound of that. I want those things. As I walk this walk with Christ, I want him to grow those things in me.
That means trials.
Insert your go to expletive.
Now, put on your workout clothes, cause the Holy Spirit is ready to get busy growing some fruit in you!
Whether it’s covid, widowhood, sickness, finances, a flat tire, a broken computer, or the myriad other trials in this life, God is working in and through us, to mature us, if we let Him. Work with the Holy Spirit, so you won’t lack what you need moving forward. Trials are challenges we must walk through, yes, but they’re also the building block for what’s to come. And what’s down the road, I’m convinced, is some good stuff.
So, consider it pure joy, my friends, and keep plugging along. One step at a time through the trials of this life. God hasn’t left us or forsaken us; He working in us.