“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
James starts out his letter with a very powerful, hard-hitting, and not so cheerful statement about being joyful. Everyone loves to hear about being joyful and wants to hear good news. Yet, at first, James’ statement does not sound like it was said correctly and is not really good news. He tells the people to have pure joy when going through a trial.
No one likes to go through a hard time. Most people will be complaining about having to go through a difficult time. Every believer will be crying out to God to remove a difficult trial in their life. They will be seeking any way possible to get out from under that challenge that is going on.
Yet, James is telling the people to consider it pure joy to be going through the trial. Pure joy is an extreme excitement.
Think about what you feel when you are suddenly promoted to a position you have long desired and worked for. Or when you graduated high school, or college and earned your degree. Or the day you proposed and she said yes, or he proposed and you said yes. Or the day you got married. These are all days where you experienced pure joy. You were excited.
This same excitement should be felt when you are going through a hard time. It goes against the nature of man to have that joy. The reason for that joy is that it is God’s way to build you up. God is working to build up your perseverance, your endurance to keep going forward for Him.
An athlete has pure joy when finishing a difficult workout. He feels invigorated and ready to compete because of the workout. The reason is because he knows the value of that workout.
Look beyond the pain of the moment and look to the value on the other side of the challenge. Think about how you will be able to tell that God was there with you and for you through it all. Think about the great testimony you will have afterwards.
Consider it pure joy this new year as you go through challenges and trust God in and through them. Grow closer to God and more like Jesus everyday.
I pray today that God will strengthen you in every challenge you have; that you will trust God through everything; that God will reveal Himself to you more in each trial; and that you will be more like Jesus each day.