– James 1:3
Count it all Joy
James writes to the church that we are to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). That isn’t given as a suggestion. It is given in the Greek as an imperative. The word “count” means to add it all up and have it equal joy, however, that is something that we can’t do on our own. That takes the supernatural power of God through His Spirit to do that. Otherwise, we’d always count every trial and have it add up to our being a joyless Christian. How sad that would be.
Testing creates Steadfastness
James writes to the church so that “you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” or perseverance (James 1:3), and this is a critical next step before becoming “perfect” or mature as the Greek suggests, since no one this side of heaven will ever be perfect. The reason that tests of faith produce steadfastness is because we learn by experience that God is faithful and has come through for us so many times. We have learned to trust Him and it allows us to persevere through other trials or tests.
Steadfastness creates Maturity
The text says, “let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4), but of course James couldn’t mean sinless perfection (1st John 1:8, 10), because none of us can ever reach that point until we are with Christ or we meet Him after death. Only then shall we be saved to sin no more. The word “perfection” is really more about “maturity” and being “complete” means to lack nothing.
Pray for Wisdom
If we are enduring a trial and we’re not exactly sure why this trial or test is coming, we can pray to God about it, so James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). I think the reason James mentions praying to God for wisdom in the context of our tests developing our faith, is because we might need help in understanding why this trial is happening. Even if we never fully understand, that’s okay. That’s where maturity comes in. We accept that which we don’t understand, knowing that God has His reasons.
Here is how it works; count all the trials as joy, let these tests create a steadfastness in God, let this steadfastness turn into spiritual maturity, and if you’re still not sure why all this is happening to you, pray about it. God will give wisdom to those who ask, just as He did to Solomon. Probably not as much wisdom as Solomon, but enough to see why these tests of faith should add up to joy.