Consider It Pure Joy

October 30, 2018

James 1:2-4 (NIV)
“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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James tells us that if we are to live successfully as Christians in this world we must know how to face up to trials when they come our way. He writes this letter because he knows and appreciates that those he is writing to are going through difficult experiences they would never have chosen for themselves, just as he himself was suffering.

James is not saying, “If you have trials” but “when” - He knows that every believer will be tested. But there is a reason for the trials we face as Christians: “For you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

This links what James writes later in his letter: v12- “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
The crown is a picture of eternal life.

1 Peter 5:4 - “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of Glory."

There is a crown of life waiting for everyone who puts his or her trust in Jesus. Notice, in the final analysis, the Lord does not say - “to those who suffer” but to those who love him.

The old Spiritual song says it in a nutshell: “If you will not bear the cross, you cannot wear the crown.”

We take comfort from the words of Romans 8:28 - “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

James shows us that it is simply through loving the Lord, and trusting in him, that we will cope with life and its trials and will enter into his glory.

We often sing “When trials come” in Stirling, to encourage us to keep going on our journey of faith despite the suffering. May these words bring comfort to you today with whatever trial you are going through:

When trials come no longer fear
For in the pain our God draws near
To fire a faith worth more than gold
And there His faithfulness is told
And there His faithfulness is told

Within the night I know Your peace
The breath of God brings strength to me
And new each morning mercy flows
As treasures of the darkness grow
As treasures of the darkness grow

I turn to Wisdom not my own
For every battle You have known
My confidence will rest in You
Your love endures Your ways are good
Your love endures Your ways are good

When I am weary with the cost
I see the triumph of the cross
So in its shadow I shall run
Till you complete the work begun
Till You complete the work begun

One day all things will be made new
I'll see the hope You called me to
And in your kingdom paved with gold
I'll praise your faithfulness of old
I'll praise your faithfulness of old

- Rev. Iain MacAskill (Stirling Free Church)