Joy in Trials
Is it possible that we could count it all joy as Christians when we encounter various trials? Could it be possible that the fruit that would be born out of these trials, gives us a reason as to why we should consider it all joy when we go through them? And on top of that, we also see in Psalm 34:19, that there will be many afflictions that the righteous will have. We need to ask James why do we need to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials. The text shows us with certainty, that trials and testing will come. God is in every trial, every testing, every affliction that comes upon us. They are allowed, appointed, and appropriated to be just right for all believers. Exodus 4:11 states, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, Or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?”
One thing James believes we should know then (in James 1:3) is that this testing of our faith, the trusting of One who has hung all the stars in place and calls them all by name, the trusting of One that directs all our paths, the trusting of One that leads us not into temptation but delivers us from evil, this faith in this One produces endurance in these trials we go through. This same author, James, mentions in 5:11, the reminder of the endurance of Job; you may remember what He all went through, and the outcomes of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. Though not all our trials will be remedied as were Job's, we nonetheless know that another Helper is always with us, One who will never leave us or forsake us, One that is always for us and never against us, One who delivered Him over for us, but will also with Him freely give us all things.
In verse 4 of James 1, we see what the goal of the Christian life should be. What is your goal for being a Christian? James says it should be maturity, That we would be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Coming into being all God wants us to be. In Romans 8:29, He predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son. That is a high and lofty calling, is it not? And this faith when tested upon various trials, Peter says in 1Pet.1:6, "may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Remember He is at work in you both to will and to work according to His good pleasure (Phil.2:13). He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus (Phil.1:6). We need not grow weary and lose hope, knowing that He endured such hostility by sinners against Himself. He, though He was a Son, learned obedience through what He suffered. Whom should I desire to be like more than Him, who has done so much for me!
Spiritual mindedness is one thing that will help us through these trials. Knowing that God is always good and does good, knowing that we should live in the fear of God always, and that He always lives to make intercession for us, and that God always leads us in triumph in Christ, we have great confidence in these blood bought promises that God will never lie, or let us down. While being foreknown, predestined, called, justified and glorified by Him, we will indeed make it to the end of our journey by Him increasing our endurance though these various trials by His infinite wisdom. The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, for Romans 8:6 states, "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." John Owen states, “the thoughts that arise out of the heart are of the same nature with the treasure that is in it. If the thoughts that naturally arise that spring up in us are for the most part vain, foolish, sensual, earthly, selfish, such is the treasure in our hearts, and such are we, but where the thoughts that thus naturally proceed from the treasure in the heart are spiritual and holy, it is an argument that we are spiritually minded."
Elder Randy Slak