Joy In Trials -tmp(James 1:2-3)

It’s one thing to try to encourage someone to pray during tribulations
but there goes James…”Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you
encounter various trials…” Why is he saying this? Does he have some
sick fascination with tribulations? What are you talking about James?
({{James 1:2}})

After years of loving Spiderman and hoping to get bit by a
(radioactive) spider to attain marvelous powers I have recently
discovered a fear of the Brown Recluse—a small spider the size of a
quarter with a vicious bite. Although the initial chomp is miniscule,
the poison eats away at the skin, killing the flesh until it sloughs
off the body. I view tribulation the same way I view this spider’s
bite. Something evil and deadly which I really don’t want to encounter
in some darkened corner but I fear that one day I just might feel its
surprising bite.

I’m horrible with tribulations. Sometimes I’m the whining type.
Other times I’m the stay up at night type, tossing and turning. Maybe
my wife’s tribulation is living with a difficult man? Is she supposed
to “count it all joy” when she deals with a stubborn husband, realizing
that the tribulation of a stubborn man produces patience? Is this the
type of tribulation or trial James is talking about in this verse?

James later on addresses those temptations (not of God) that
arise out of our own desires ({{Jas 1:12-13}}). The trials in verse one
are completely different from those evil temptations in which we are
never to “joy”. This tribulation for perseverance is something that
James older brother spoke about.

If we remember, Jesus was sitting by the sea where large crowds began
to gather. Jesus started to speak to them in many parables, one of
which resonates with James’ words. ({{Matt 13:1-23}}; {{Lk 8:4-15}})

The story was of a certain sower who as he sowed he threw his
seeds in various directions. Some fell beside the road and the birds
came and ate them up. Others fell on rocky places, which didn’t have
much soil and less moisture, and they soon withered beneath the heat of
the sun. Other seed fell among the thorns and as the weeds came up they
choked the small growths in their bud. Lastly some fell on good ground
and brought up fruit some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty—but
all brought fruit with perseverance!

So we start to grasp the nature of this tribulation and
subsequent perseverance. For as the Lord explains the parable to his
disciples we may be able to hone in on what James is actually saying.

The seed, says Christ, is the word of the God. The birds are
the devil that snatches the word from the ears of men who do not
understand. Those typified as the seed with no root and moisture are
those who received the word with joy and believed for a little but when
the hot fire of tribulation came they stopped believing. Those who were
choked by the thorns are those who are choked by the cares of the world
and are left unfruitful. The seed on the good ground, which brought
forth fruit with perseverance, are those who believed and brought forth

An example of those who received the word and believed for a
short while can be found in {{John 8:31-59}}. These people had believed
the Lord in some sense, joyfully listening to his words and seeing the
signs. Jesus turned to these people and told them that if they would
continue in his word they would be his disciples indeed, and the truth
would set them free. “What? Free? Whose slave are we? We’re the
children of Abraham, knowing who our parents are…who are YOUR parents?”
Their rejection of the truth culminated in Christ pointing out that if
they had known God they would have known him and that their father was
neither Abraham or God…but the devil. At the height of the encounter,
Christ revealing that God and Himself are one and the same, these
so-called believers took up stones to kill him.

So when we read James’ “brothers count it all joy when you fall
into various trials” we should understand it to be trials so as to
prove if we are true believers. How is this comforting at all? How is a
person supposed to feel joy during this type of testing if it is most
definitely a trial that shakes the very foundation of faith?

And it can happen at any point in one’s life. Look at old
Abraham who believed God and God credited it to Him in righteousness
({{Gen 15:6}}). After several years he received a very fierce
testing…the sacrifice of his son ({{Gen 22:1-2}}). At the end of this
testing (God of course staying Abraham’s hand) we hear the voice of the
Lord saying “Now I know that you fear God since you have not withheld
your son, your only son, from Me.” ({{Gen 22:12}})

This type of endurance ultimately perfects us so we may be
lacking in nothing. How then are we to achieve the point of joy during
trials? By relying on the Lord without variance and doubting but fully
expecting the Lord to bring us through that severe shaking. We will
persevere and we will increase in the deep-rooted wisdom found in God
that can only be learned through the Spirit. That’s our foundation for
increasing our faith in trials—a foundation that Paul addresses just as

In {{Romans 5:3}} that we can glory in tribulations for they
bring about perseverance. In {{Romans 5:1}} Paul tells us that those
who are justified by faith, have now and forever, peace with God.
Therefore we can exult or glory and boast with joy in tribulations. We
can joy by knowing the end result says James: it’s not that we “might”
persevere but “knowing” that the testing produces perseverance. We know
the end results…we will pass.

Look at the testing lab teeming with nervous teenagers about to
take their SAT’s—some of them nervously joking and others quietly
anxious. They’re about to be tested but none of them really know how
the test is going to turn out. We’re not like that, praise God. Those
who have believed have been justified by faith and now have the answer
to testing. On other words, we will pass. The point is to make that
testing a point of even more fruit bearing by facing it with joy and
relying on the Lord for wisdom who gives to all liberally.


Jacob, an abject slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the
twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various trials of
testing, knowing that the testing of your faith produces an enduring
perseverance! And let this enduring perseverance have its full and
perfect result so that you may be whole and perfectly complete, lacking
in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who
gives to all generously and without holding back out of anger…and it
will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any variance of
doubting for the one who is variant in doubting is like the surf of the
sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man shouldn’t expect that
he will receive and lay hold of anything for he is being a
double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. But the brother of humble
circumstances is to exult and glory in his high position and the rich
man is to glory in his humiliation, because like a flowering wild
grass, he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and
withers the wild grass and its flower falls off—and the beauty of its
appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his
pursuits will fade away. Blessed is the man then who actively endures
in perseverance while under a trial because once he has been approved
and tested, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has
promised to those who love Him. -{{James 1:1-12}}

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