- Even though James was the brother of Jesus, he introduced himself as "a servant/bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ". I love his humility. I want people to know me as a servant of God, too.
- We're encouraged to respond to trials as positive things...almost as if we should even welcome them .
Most people don't enjoy tests but tests do serve some valuable
purposes. They reveal strengths and weaknesses. They demonstrate what we
know and what we do not know, and they teach us how to apply knowledge.
Our faith is tested by how we respond to trials. It will show who we
really are and what we really believe. It will show whether our faith is
strong or weak, genuine or fake.
Trials are unpleasant but they are great opportunities to witness how
God works in our lives, for our lives, and through our lives. Testing
highlights God's faithfulness in our lives and in the lives of others.
A beautiful purpose of trials is to learn from them. God may use
difficult situations to teach us about ourselves or about other people.
Use them as stepping stones to grow in Christ. Growth through trials
will help our character shine and bring glory to God.
Perseverance/patience/endurance is the fruit proven by testing. This
passage in James reminds me of Mark 4: 16-17, "Others, like seed sown on
rocky places, hear the Word and at once receive it with joy. But since
they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or
persecution comes because of the Word, they quickly fall away." True
saving faith will endure to the end...come what may!
- "Count it all joy/consider it pure joy"! Why?
have joy when we endure trials because they authenticate our faith,
strengthen us/our faith, draw us closer to God/make us depend on God
more, glorify God as He sustains us through our trials, help us learn
lessons that we need to learn, and enable us to help encourage others
who may experience similar trials.
The result/reward for passing the testing of our faith and persevering:
spiritual maturity, completion, not lacking anything = complete
One thing that helps me during trials is to focus on the Author and
Finisher of our Faith. "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out
for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our
faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its
shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him
Who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow
weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:1b-3) Such a beautiful and powerful
example to help us endure our trials! Did you notice the words we see in
these verses that we also see in James: perseverance and joy