James 1:2-4 – Consider It All Joy: Delighting in Difficulty – Part 2

Review: the universality of trials and the choice a believer has in facing trials

James 1:3-5

  1. The purpose for trials— they produce steadfastness! 
  1. This truth about trials is assumed to be a fact that genuine believers already “know”— Verse 2 says , “for you KNOW that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” This “knowing” speaks of having understanding, and is the same root word that speaks of the intimate knowledge between a husband and a wife (eg., he “knew” his wife). Therefore, as it is said in 1 Pet. 4:12, “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” In view of what we know about the purpose for trials, we then ask “what?” instead of “why?” (for we already know why trials come)—We can ask, for example, “Lord, what are you desiring for me to learn during this trial? Lord, what do you want me to do?” (See, for example, Acts 8:36, 16:30) 
  2. This purpose behind trials gives us the reason for rejoicing—trials are avenues towards spiritual maturity! One’s dependence upon and intimacy with God is increased during times of trials and is a testing of one’s faith. See 1 Pet. 1:6-7 “you have been grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Proven faith produces constancy, steadfastness, patient enduring, perseverance (characteristic of the genuine child of God!). See 1 John 2:19 “for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us”— ie, true believers persevere!
  3. As the believer chooses to face each trial with joy, he is “made perfect and complete”— that is, he matures! He learns to depend on God more and more; and, he develops a growing intimacy with God. (eg., when Pablo Casal, a famous cellist and composer, was asked, during his golden years, why he continued to practice several hours a day despite his renowned skill, he replied “because I think I am making progress.”)

In view of the message we are given from this epistle this day, and as we face continued lockdown due to COVID-19 and the uncertainties that face us and those around us, we are encouraged to remain confident in Him who reigns, whose purposes cannot be thwarted, and whose goal is to permit even His own to be “grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of [our] faith, more precious than gold that perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Pet.1:6-7). 

Listen to the sermon here.

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