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On James, Joy, and Gifts

We need to be mindful of our disposition when we encounter trials. We mostly tend to grumble, despair about them and doubt God will help us through them. We bemoan them distractions and interruptions. But why does James 1:2 say “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds”? Note that he is not saying to consider the trials themselves as pure joy, but consider facing them with pure joy. Why? Because “the testing of your faith develops perseverance (v.3)” which must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (v.4).”

The quality of our faith will continuously be refined and tested through trials. 1Peter 1:17 says “These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold- which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine.” Our faith is refined by stretching. Trials stretch our resolve to either handle issues on our own or allow God’s involvement since He gives “wisdom generously to all without finding fault (James 1:5).” Trials stretch our resolve to place our trust and identity in God as Provider rather than worldly wealth (v.9-11).

James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.” The good and perfect gifts referred to here are trials. It may be a stretch for our minds to face difficulties with joyful expectation or see them as gifts, but the rewards for perseverance are maturity in faith, more Godly wisdom, an enduring trust and more of Jesus’ abundant life.

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