2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,a whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
When someone says the word, “Joy,” thoughts of trials, testing, and opportunities for perseverance are not usually the first things that enter their mind, but rather, more ideally “a sense of great happiness or an emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune (Webster’s Dictionary).” However, here in the opening verses of the book of James, the author is attempting to help his readers grasp the magnitude of the concept behind what he is presenting to them – what may seem an audacious statement, “Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds.” What we must understand stand is that the “joy” he speaks of is not based upon the simple definition stated above, but instead, is deeply rooted in a relationship to the One who walks with us through those “trials of many kinds.” Upon further word study regarding the definition of joy, it also carries with it a deeper connection as “a source or cause of delight.” Therefore, with respect to our relationship with the Lord, we find a level of Joy and Delight in our personal connection with Him especially in times of trials and testing.
We also understand that the Lord always knows more about what He desires to do in our lives through occasions and seasons of trials or testing than we’re able to see. He is continually working on our behalf whether we can readily observe Him moving or measure what we might call “tangible results” right in front of us at any given time. James gives us a glimpse into the process by which God uses trials in our lives to mold and shape us into the persons He’s always desired for us to become. “You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Perseverance is the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition (Webster’s) – remaining steadfast. God in His wisdom understands that if our faith is not tested, it with neither be strong nor in our faith will we develop a sense of perseverance in life through which we learn to trust in Him regardless of the circumstances, thus remaining desperate for Him. Finally, as “perseverance finishes its work…we may become mature and complete, not lacking anything,” meaning in each particular trial or season of trials we face, there are opportunities to grow and be made more mature and complete in our faith, if we cling to the Lord persevering in and through Him. This process takes place through small steps of daily obedience – trusting in His promises, inviting Him into our immediate circumstances, and continually setting our gaze upon Him in order to persevere through such times of testing or trials.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to carry me through times of trials or testing, developing perseverance in my faith. Help me through the promises of Your word and the presence of Your Holy Spirit in my life to find true joy during those times when You allow my faith to be tested for my good and for Your ultimate glory. I surrender my life to Your will and timing for those seasons of trial to enter my life. You are a good, good Father and know what’s best for my journey. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.