How to Rejoice in Your Trials (James 1:2–3)

Have you ever had a season where it seemed life couldn’t get any worse? Only for something new and even harder to come along?

Today’s verse, James 1:2–3, helps us put those seasons into perspective.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

James 1:2–3 NIV

It’s easy to read verses like this and think: “That might work for some people, but their trials aren’t as hard as mine!”

The trap here is we start comparing our situation with other peoples’, rather than looking at our hardship from God’s perspective.

What helps me most is pausing to consider three things:

  1. Who wrote this letter?
  2. Whom did he write to?
  3. What was happening in their lives at the time?

Reframing Trials in James 1:2–3

James, Jesus’ older brother, wrote this letter to the early Church during a time being a Christian wasn’t just hard, it was dangerous. In fact, James would soon find out, as he was stoned to death for following Jesus.

So we’re not hearing from a guy whose life was sunshine and rainbows. We’re learning from a man who would endure death itself — and could still “consider it pure joy.”

James is reframing the purpose of trials and recasting our source of joy! The truth is, we don’t live in joy because our context gives us comfortable lives.

We have Jesus’ “complete” joy in us (John 15:11). And eternal joy is such a profound prize Jesus was able to “endure the cross” and “despise” its shame (Hebrews 12:2)!

Trials aren't obstacles to true joy, they are opportunities for it. Click To TweetJames 12–3 On Reframing Trials

Don’t Fall, Soar

I love how F.J.A. Hort explains James 1:2–3:

“The Christian must expect to be jostled by trials on the Christian way. All kinds of experiences will come to us. There will be the test of the sorrows and the disappointments which seek to take our faith away. There will be the test of the seductions which seek to lure us from the right way. There will be the tests of the dangers, the sacrifices and the unpopularity which are so much a part of the Christian way. But they are not meant to make us fall; they are meant to make us soar. They are not meant to defeat us; they are meant to be defeated. They are not meant to make us weaker; they are meant to make us stronger. Therefore we should not complain about them; we should rejoice in them. Christians are like athletes. The heavier the course of training they undergo, the more they are glad, because they know that it is preparing them all the better for victorious effort.”

Find Your Pure Joy

So, we’ve talked trials and learned a new perspective: trials are not roadblocks, but stepping stones. They’re not meant to bring us down, they’re meant to make us soar. Remember James? Even in bitter persecution, he found joy. A joy so deep, it came from Jesus himself.

Joy because God uses trials to build endurance and perseverance. Not for drudgery, but for joy. Not simply for duty, but for delight.

Today’s devotion by Jordan Loftis. Bestselling author and editor of Short Daily Devotions.

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