Count It Joy
“Count It Joy”
By: Randy Case Jr.
As humans, we have a tendency to ask “why” when we experience difficulties in our lives. We may look at a situation as being the victim. God gives insight on how to handle these situations so that we may look at them as being a victor. We can expect to experience difficulties as a Christian. After all, Jesus, the apostles and first century Christians endured hard times. James tells us how to approach these times in chapter 1.
We must first embrace the trial and count it joy (v.2). Jesus said that we will have trials (John 16:33), so we should not be caught off guard when they occur. These trials may be caused by satan, the world, our family and even brethren. Peter tells us not to be surprised by these trials, but to rejoice in them (1 Peter 4:12-13). Rejoicing occurred after suffering persecution for the cause of the gospel (Acts 5:41). These times bring about perseverance (Romans 5:3). We should look at the difficulty and thank God while adopting a joyful attitude when trials occur. Persecution, in whatever form it may be, is a part of Christianity and when we suffer for Jesus, we should look at it as a good thing, especially since He suffered for us.
In verse 3, James says that the testing of our faith produces endurance. Just as athletes train for their sport, we must train for Christianity. Faith tested brings out the best in us if we remain focused on God. Trials help us mature as Christians. If we never have these, then we expect everything will be easy and as a result, we do not grow stronger. Endurance denotes the ability to have consistency in the face of adversity. We must stand firm with God, no matter what is thrown at us. Testing can work for us, not against us (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Endurance must have its perfect result (verse 4). Too often, we want the hard times to be over with immediately. Instead of complaining or questioning God, we should simply endure it. We learn to continue to seek God’s will during the hard times.
Lastly, we must look to God for wisdom (verse 5). Wisdom is demonstrated when we take what Scripture says and apply it to our own lives. We must look to the One who is all knowing for guidance. Persistency must characterize our prayer life. Especially in times of difficulty, we should become more dependent on God, looking to Him for strength, guidance and comfort. James tells us to ask God in faith, without doubting (verse 6).
Seeing trials as an opportunity to rejoice is contrary to what the world thinks. Christianity is about seeking to please God. It is about humbling ourselves in good times and in difficult times. Christians are commanded to have a joy in all circumstances of life. This joy occurs because, no matter what we endure, we have the hope of heaven.