Summary: An encouragement keep walking in joy and faith during times of trail and tribulation.
If you know anything about me, it’s probably that I am always doing something.
I am always busy doing something for the Lord.
But the last couple of weeks has been different,
I’ve had a viral infection that has really knocked the wind out of my sails.
And one thing I have done a lot of over the last few days is thinking.
Dangerous I know.
I’ve been thinking about the difficult days we all go through, the times of trial, the bad days.
I suggest that all of us have experienced bad days, difficulties or trials in our lives.
For many of us there have been times when we have worried about something.
Maybe right now you are experiencing difficulty. Maybe there are problems, situations, or circumstances that have knocked the wind from your sails.
Have you ever asked the question:
“Why do things always happen to my family?”
What Did I do to deserve this?
have you ever felt like you just wanted to
give up… or run away?
At times we can all feel like throwing in the towel we just hate going through hard times.
Why Do Troubles Come?
The “why” question hits the hardest and it hurts the most; and it’s the question that often lingers the longest.
James was the half brother of Jesus, same mother, different father.
The book of James was written to people who had experienced pain and persecution and had been scattered to different places.
This book, similar to the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, deals with the practical aspects of the walk of faith.
If we have faith that works, it will be seen in how we face trials (chapter one),
how we treat people (chapter two),
how we talk (chapter three),
how we deal with sin in our lives (chapter four) and how we pray (chapter five).
It’s interesting that the very first topic that James tackles is how to treat our trials.
James 1:2-8 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
I think we could nominate James 1:2 as one of the most amazing statements in the entire Bible: “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
In the 108 verses of the book of James, James gives us 54 different commands – and this is the first one.
“Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
This verse is so powerful, let’s look carefully at the various phrases.
This word “consider” carries with it the idea of counting.
It’s literally the idea of “pressing your mind down on something.”
Leading your mind through a reasoning process to arrive at a conclusion.
There is also a sense of urgency.
We’re to weigh our worries, calculate our trials and put them in perspective.
We need to understand that the main priority in our lives is not our pleasure,
the main priority in our lives should be the purposes of God.
Our happiness is important but our holiness is the main priority.
The life of a Christian should display the marks, the indications, the reality,
of a life lived with a focus on God.
With Christ at the centre, surrounded by the love of the Father, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Whatever circumstance or situation you’re facing today, whether it’s a health situation,
or a money problem,
or a prodigal child,
or relational rupture,
right here, right now, in that situation,
you have the opportunity to shine for Christ.
“Consider it pure joy...” The unanimous testimony of the writers of the New Testament is that we can find joy in the midst of tribulation.
1 Peter 4:13 says: “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
Instead of withering, we need to worship.
When someones asks how you are, do you just say “fine” and change the subject?
Instead of just telling people that we’re “surviving” we can actually give testimony that we’re thriving through Christ.