James – Wednedsday, March 4
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.
Notice the word consider in this passage. It’s a word that means to count or esteem something; to suppose something. In our trials, we’re to consider, count, esteem, or suppose them to be pure joy.
The key to doing this is to know something. In our trials, we need to know (and remember) that these tests are accomplishing something in us. Because of our trials, we’re growing in patience (endurance, constancy, steadfastness). We become stable, dependable people who are not likely to change or waiver because of difficulty. It is much like tempered steel—the only way steel becomes hardened or flexible to that degree is to subject it to extreme heat and pounding.
The same is true of our lives of faith. This is what brings us joy … knowing this truth. Our trials are making us stronger.
There is a danger to this process, however. It’s possible to short-circuit the effect of our trials. We must let them run their due course, and remain under the fire as long as the Lord deems it necessary. We gain wisdom in these things by asking Him (see James 1:5)!
Daily Devotional Book • James Application Questions
1. Someone once said that the Christian is either in a trial, coming out of a trial, or heading into a trial. To the degree that statement is true, where are you in that statement?
2. Do you believe in this process of God? Do you trust Him that He knows what He is doing in your life? Are you confident in His infinite wisdom and unending love, and that He is 100% motivated to produce His best in us? If not, tell Him right now. And ask Him to strengthen your faith and commitment to His ways.
3. How have you short-circuited a time of trial in your life? If you’re going through trials right now, make sure to let the Lord finish His lesson. Make this a matter of prayer as well. Assignment: tell a close and trusted friend about your current trial, and ask him/her to pray for you (men with men and women to women).