“Consider it pure joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).
We need to lay aside any blame, revenge, bitterness, and guilt. The word used for “consider” or “count” (v. 2) means that when pain penetrates our being, mentally, we need to immediately count it as a thing of joy, “knowing that” (v. 3) our ability to count our difficulties as joy is based on God’s sovereignty and that which we know to be absolutely true. If we process pain correctly, it will eventually mature our character and bring us to completion—producing good works. It is clearly not an emotional choice but volitional—our will.
That is why in a trial or crisis we need to lay aside our feelings and instinctive responses based on how we have responded improperly in the past; and reflect on what God says. His command is to consider every trial as “pure joy.”
However, we can be so troubled and despairing that our capacity to learn through them is impaired. That is why we need this knowledge NOW so that we remain certain in the midst of changing circumstances and emotions. It serves as an anchor firm and secure.
Our trials are guarded by His character and His presence; His intent is our spiritual growth and His glory. They are tests of our faith to develop endurance, which, in turn, produce mature Christian character (Romans 5:3-4).
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . . who for the joy set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Counting trials as joy does not mean that we feel happy about our difficulties but it keeps our focus off the moment of pain because we understand that ultimately God will make the experience worthy of joyful thanksgiving and praise.
Have you ever tried to praise God when you didn’t feel like it—when your heart needed comfort and encouragement? Waiting until we feel like praising and thanking Him is the wrong thing to do. We can thank Him without feeling like it because we choose to do so. There is healing in praise! And joy brings victory! The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
When we come to God with praise on our lips because of who He is, He gives us power and strength.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day—Henry van Dyke