A Promise of Joy

“consider it pure joy when you face many trials”

James 1:2

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A little word study today, focusing on a fairly well-known verse in James.  James is a short book – only five chapters – but it packs a punch.  I kinda can’t wait to meet James in heaven.  I love how he writes.  I love how he gets right to the point, and that he makes me think.  I can just picture myself in heaven someday, stammering and mumbling as I ask him for his autograph.  But realistically, I’m pretty sure Jesus will be my focus, so maybe not…

Anyhoo, let’s look at James 1:2.  “My brethren, consider it pure joy when you face many trials.”  I think the first time someone reads this verse, they are probably astounded.  “Joy??  In trials??”  But I also think that those who are well familiar with it, also struggle in the face of it.  “I’m in a trial, and I know I’m supposed to feel joy, but I don’t.”  And although I normally study the New King James version of the Bible, the wording here is New International.  I like the instruction it gives.  

For instance:

consider it”…
To consider means to give thought to, or to ponder.  Most of the time, joy in trials is not readily apparent.  It might take some work on our part to recognize the joy.  It might take prayer,  and meditation, and the faith to ask Him to show it to us.  But every trial that comes your way has been allowed by God.  Decide to receive it with joy.

“consider it pure joy“…
The tricky part of this is the word “joy”.  Two reasons:  first of all, we’re not just talking about joy, we’re talking about “pure joy.”  God’s joy.  Unadulterated, life-impacting, blessing-producing joy.  Perfect joy. He can impart no other kind.  Secondly, God’s idea of joy is not the same as our idea of joy.  To us, joy is a feeling, like happiness.  And if we don’t feel that feeling, we think something is wrong.  But the word “joy” also means “something that brings joy”.  So while you may not feel it now, the joy is coming.    He allows nothing that is not for our growth, and His glory.  Verses 3 and 4 of this chapter explain it beautifully.  “Consider it pure joy when you face many 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.”  There is a promise there.  That which will bring you joy is upon you now.  The feeling of joy will come later.

Finally:  “consider it pure joy when you face many trials”…
My Amazing Boy, when he was about four years old, said to me one day, “Momma, I don’t ever want to go to school.”  When I asked him why, he said, “Because they give you tests.”  And I heard the Lord speaking my words to me as I answered him, “But sweetie, they don’t give you the test until they’ve taught you what you need to know.”  This is how God is.  We face our trials.  They do not ambush us.  It may feel that way sometimes, but in truth, we are ready.  He has prepared us.  And certainly, we can find joy in that knowledge.

Consider the joy.  Face your trials.  Your obedience will bring the promised blessings.

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