James: A Faithful Servant to a Faithful God
~ James 1:1-11 ~
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.
Joy in trials
"Count it all joy" is a difficult pill to swallow when we realize that it is in our suffering we are called to be joyful. The reason to rejoice is that there is a promise. We are promised that this testing of our faith is purposeful, that we may develop steadfastness. But it does not stop there, this steadfastness is purposed that we may be "perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." This is a promise of sanctification which will be completed in our glorification when we reach heaven. The key is that we are not yet home, therefore, let us not lose heart. Rather, let us count it all joy, for we are being made ready for home.
The Biblical definition of wisdom is seeing things as God sees them. He sees our trials as a test, in which we are being sanctified to become more steadfast in faithfulness and holiness - more like Christ.
Take heart, for Christ has already defeated the sin and backbreaking trials we sink into, His work is just yet to be completed in us, we are still being renewed. The only contingency here is that we are to not ‘doubt’ for in the Greek this is to ‘dispute’ and here it is a dispute within ourselves about what God has promised and what we are feeling within about our own weaknesses.
So when we have doubts, the solution is simple: humility. For humility is simply recognizing our place and admitting our doubts and our weaknesses to a sovereign God who has already won the battle. We must admit our doubts and trust the Lord to show Himself faithful. Furthermore, since Christ was humiliated for our sakes, let us be joyful when we are counted worthy to bear the cross of humiliation and suffering like our Lord, and let us pray that we may remain faithful for the sake of His name.
Matthew 5-7, Proverbs 2:1-15
Soli Deo Gloria
We should not be surprised, as Christians, when we are tested or afflicted. Rather, it should be expected and embraced knowing that is with a loving and purposeful hand that the Lord leads us through it. He does not discipline those He does not love, neither will he test without purpose. Furthermore, His immutable character ensures his promises are certain. Therefore, we can rest knowing that, “the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” If we are found in Him, this promise is certain for us. We need only to trust and obey so that, on that faithful day, we may be, “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”