In The Word
Read James 1: 1-18
Testing Your Faith
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the 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 a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind offirst fruits among His creatures.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
Joy and suffering are not words that naturally go together. That is because we do not look at suffering as having a purpose. Purpose gives us joy. If we do not feel like we have purpose, we will not be very joyful. James wrote to a group of believers that were having a hard time seeing the purpose of their suffering. Joy seemed like the furthest thing from their mind. But James reminded them that when they suffer for Christ’s sake, they can find joy because Christ has purpose.
The purpose that James directed their attention to is maturity. The trials that we go through can bring us joy for the simple fact that we will be more mature in Christ afterwards. Difficult times force us to depend on God more. Depending on God more, in any situation, increases our spiritual stability. Suffering can also help us have an attitude of appreciation. We are not meant to lose sight of God’s blessings and of how we are to glorify Him through suffering. It can be the deepest trials of this life that help us appreciate the glory that is waiting for us when we endure.
As we are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, we will encounter trials. But we need to remember that joy can be found in those times because we are being matured; we will receive the crown of life. Do not give up! The character of Christ is being proven in you.