“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. – James 1:2-4
The book of James is a very practical book that helps us to live out our faith and actually do it – not just read it or hear it!
James starts chapter one by telling us who it is he is talking to – “…the twelve tribes in the Dispersion”. He is talking to fellow christians. These were the people who were scattered throughout the world by the Assyrians and Babylonians.
James jumps right into verse two by saying, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…”. Joy in trials…really? I have been through my share of trials and it is very difficult to be joyful. But this is what God is telling us we should do – count it all joy!
WHY? Why are we to count the trials as joy?
Answer: Because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness – and steadfastness, when it is finished, helps us to be made perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James is telling us that the trials we are going through are not wasted times in our lives. They are not coincidence. This “testing of your faith” is something that God wants to use in your life, my life, to make us more like Him.
That phrase “testing of your faith” is awesome when you break it down. “Testing” is a phrase that silversmiths would use when they wanted to purify silver. They would fill a pot with silver and then heat it up. At a certain temperature, all of the impurities would rise to the top and the silversmith would scoop the top layer off and discard it.
The silversmith would then look into the pot of silver. If he did not see his own reflection then he would repeat the process. This process, or the testing of the silver, was done until the silversmith was able to see his own reflection in the silver.
That is what God is doing with us! He is telling us that the trials or test that we are going through are there to challenge our faith and to make our faith more genuine. The tests are there to burn the impurities out of our lives, so that we will look more and more like Jesus. Each trial is there for a purpose – for God to look down and see more and more of himself in our lives.
So, how do you look at “trials of various kinds”? As nothing more than bumps in the road of life or something that will make you look more and more like Jesus?