Summary: Count it pure joy in times of trial, testing and temptation??? That's CRAZY, right? No so fast, partner! This whole plan of salvation us upside down to this world; God dying for our sins? Why not joy in times of trouble! God is for us and with us! PTL!!
As we take a look at our newest memory Scripture let’s look at the preceding verse
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.”
Who is this James?
There were two of the twelve named James
“These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
“Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.”
We also know that Jesus had a half brother named James
“Isn’t this the carpenter’s Son? Isn’t His mother’s name Mary, and aren’t His brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all His sisters with us?”
James the brother of John, the son of Zebedee was put to death before the book of James was written
“[King Herod] had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.”
1 Corinthians 15:7 says that after the resurrection …
“[Jesus] appeared to James, then to all the apostles ….”
Now, if we look again at Jesus’ brothers we see that the writer of Jude was also one of Jesus’ half brothers but he identifies himself as
“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James …”
The folks who have translated the Bible have used the Greek form of Judas’ which is Jude as the name of the book written by Jesus’ half brother the brother of James.
It appears that James and Jude were not believers until after Jesus rose from the dead.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to think, “Jesus really IS the Messiah!”?
James becomes one of the leaders of the church in Jerusalem.
Let’s read the new memory Scripture again …
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
“Consider it pure joy … whenever you face trials of many kinds …” NIV
“Count it all joy … when you meet trials of various kinds …” NASB
“… count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations …” KJV
This seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?
Count it all joy when you face trials, temptations, testing, difficulties???
Those are not things which bring joy to our lives.
It reminds me of a “Deep Thought” I once read …
"One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. 'Oh no,'
I said, 'Disneyland burned down.' "He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. 'I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.’"
Now, this kid had the response we would expect based on life in this world.
Trials, testing, difficulties, temptations are not fun.
Trials and testing can be fun if they result in victory.
No one wins a race without training for the race.
The preparation is a trial
The race is a time of testing
There may be the temptation to cheat
Winning honestly because of discipline and effort can bring joy.
This verse, however, is not talking about something we could accomplish on our own. It is not intended to be. It’s in the Bible after all and the Bible is all about God and human relationship and victory over trials and tests and temptations by cooperating with God’s grace and strength living in and through us.
When King David was just a shepherd boy he faced dangerous trials. He killed the lion and bear and Goliath.
“Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
David would have been lunch for the lion and the bear and he would have been like a chunk of chicken on a skewer if he had tried to fight Goliath in his own strength but when the trial presented itself David trusted in God.