My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; ~James 1:2
One of the basics of daily living is counting. We count our minutes. We count our money. We count our blessings. James starts his practical epistle by telling us to “count it all joy.” The word “count” means to esteem. It is also the word translated into “governor” and “chief.” It has the idea of giving top priority and eminence. As we start a New Year, let us see the priority of counting our troubles.
We see the afflictions.
A trial is when our faith is being tested. It has the idea of metal being tested, or proven, to determine if it really is a precious metal. Trials are God’s means of testing to see what is really inside of us. Believe it or not, trials are a gift from God. They are good gifts and perfect gifts sent from the Father of lights. It is during the difficulties of trials that we experience the strengthening of God’s grace. Always remember that every trial is “Father-filtered” in us.
We see the assortment.
James says that there are diverse, or many, trials. Trials do not come as “one size fits all.” There are family, parenting, marital, financial, employment, health, relational, and spiritual trials. It is possible to have multiple trials going on at one time. It is possible to go from one trial to another. The diversity of trials is God’s means of increasing our faith, developing holiness, dealing with sin, and drawing closer to God. We do not have a choice in any trial. We cannot prepare for a trial. Trials come when God decides that it is time for our faith to be tested.
We see the appreciation.
James said, “Count it all joy.” We are to esteem every trial. We are to thank Him for our trials. We are to receive the trial with a joyful attitude, even though we are hurting. How can we have joy when we have a trial? First, consider our Lord Jesus Christ when He went to the cross. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). It was a joy for Jesus to go the cross for us. He endured the cross and despised the shame. Second, the attitude of joy tells God that we want His best in our life. Instead of the trial being a burden, we see it as a blessing. Think of the example of Joseph, who told his brothers, “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.”
We see the aftermath.
Trials bring the impurities in our life to the surface. These impurities require us to confess and forsake our sin. Trials teach us to pray earnestly and lean upon the Lord. Trials develop patience in our life. Paul said, “Tribulation worketh patience.” James said that “the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” So, trials are God’s way of maturing us and making us better Christians.
Count your troubles? Yes, but not to languish in misery. Count them as tools in the hands of a loving and mighty God Who wants us to conform to the image of Christ.
Have a joyful God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Genesis 1-3