Summary: The Apostle James dropped a bombshell in his letter to Christians
Count my trials and struggles all joy?
Are you going through any trials, temptations, tribulations, testings, or struggles?
Then my brothers and sisters…count it all joy. Pastor what are you saying? How can I find joy in my struggles? You do not know what I am going through?
Well you are right; I don’t know what you are going through. There is one, however who does know and “He says consider it all joy.”
The Apostle James dropped a bombshell in his letter to Christians:
“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.”
Notice James says “when you encounter” and not “if you ever encounter.” In other words, we can expect hard times. Followers of Christ are not exempt from the troubles of this world. God does not promise to take us out of trials and struggles, but He does say He will be there with us. Does it seem odd to you that God would allow his beloved children to go through severe trials and would perhaps even orchestrate tough times of testing? Well, that is exactly the experience the New Testament describes and prescribes for Christians.
Notice James also says that trials and testing are not in our lives to destroy us, but to develop us and strengthen us. In them and through them, we develop perseverance, literally the ability to “remain under.” Remember what Job went through. The experience is grueling, but because of it, we find ourselves becoming stronger and more confident. Without the stern test, we’d never know the faithfulness of God or what we can do when we lean on him and allow Him to work through us.
Finally, brothers and sisters that when we understand God’s “big picture” we see His purpose is to see us grow and mature, and, in the process, to demonstrate his own power, wisdom, and love to the world. Then we are able to rejoice. Not a weak, insincere “Praise the Lord,” but a sense of gladness welling up from deep within. We can raise up our hands and voices in a grand Hallelujah!
The fact is we are caught up in something wonderful and mysterious and hugely important. This means our attitudes and actions, our responses to everyday irritations like broken computers, bounced checks, rude co-workers, and to each other are eternally significant.
Read with me 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
“Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed--for our testimony to you was believed. To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”