Monday, April 25, 2011

Joy in Trials

(James 1:2 NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 
Why joy?
  • Because the trials prove the genuineness of our faith.
  • Because the trials lead to patient endurance.
  • Because the trials are necessary to developing maturity.
  • Because the trials assure we will be completely equipped.
Anyone can say (and many do say) that they have faith.  Is that faith genuine or false?  It is interesting that we can ask, because some people don't recognize this as a possibility.  Nevertheless, the Bible asks the question and provides this means of answering.  The profession of faith may be genuine or not, but the proof of the faith is demonstrated under the pressure of trials.

In chapter two, James will say it a bit differently: "Faith without works is dead." (James 2:20, 26)  His point is the same, however.  Abraham's faith was put to the test in the requirement that he offer up his son, Isaac.  But since his faith was genuine - he unflinchingly moved to obey - and his faith was demonstrated to be genuine.  Rahab's faith was put to the test in the treasonous decision to side with Israel by hiding the spies - instead of turning them over to the authorities of Jericho.  She did it because her faith was genuine.  (James 2:20-26)

Some poet said, "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!" but patient endurance is more attractive.  Nobody wants to see people lose their temper or their composure.  A person who is ranting and raving or running away has failed the test.  But trials endured build patient endurance and that is what we want - so we can rejoice in trials.  This is how we grow into maturity.

I suppose that many Marine recruits might think the training program is too difficult.  Running, jumping, marching, practicing, polishing, crawling, climbing, etc.  But for people heading into combat, it would be no favor to ease off the trials of training.  They need every muscle and every skill to be completely developed so they are ready for whatever they will face in the war.  Moreover, they want every other recruit to be trained to the same level so they can all count on each other.

This is the message of James to the Christians.  These trials are not an accident.  They are planned by God to develop you.  As you patiently endure these things you will become completely equipped - ready for your continued service for God.

Count it all joy when you fall into various trials!

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