Joyful Through Trials | James 1:1-12

This morning is a unique morning. It’s a unique morning for me, for a few reasons:

  1. I woke up early… like, really early. I don’t normally wake up until about 8:15 am on weekdays, and about 9:30 am on the weekends. I woke up today at about 4:00 am. WOW.
  2. I woke up feeling good… sadly, that’s a rarity, but not something I’m going to complain about right now.
  3. I made myself breakfast… not much of a morning eater unless I’ve been awake for two hours and it’s around 10:15 am.
  4. I’m studying my Bible AND I’m blogging.

In my book, this whole morning would just be considered a win and I could call it a day! But today is only getting started! Now, no man knows what the day will hold for him (James 4:13) but I know who holds the day! (Sorry about that, my more negative side came out there, but then the Lord encouraged me!) This is often the case, isn’t it? How many times do we think negatively, only to be softly corrected by the Lord and His goodness?

Anyway, back to the point of this blog post… James 1:1-12!

This morning as I woke up and began reading my Bible, I opened up my YouVersion Bible App and my normal Bible Study Tools and was prompted by a reading plan: James, A 12-Day Video Bible Study with Francis Chan. Now, if you’re like me, you’ve read James 1 over and over again. However, one of the most amazing things about God’s Word is that it’s active and living (Hebrews 4:12-13) and that means that no matter how many times you read a specific passage in life, you will always learn something new from it and the Holy Spirit will transform you through the application of that passage! How wonderful is that?

Now, I recommend grabbing your Bible, physical or digital, and read through James 1:1-12, but for the sake of ease, I’ve pasted it below:

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. 12 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.

Where we start off in this text is James writing to “the twelve tribes in the Dispersion” which simply means he’s writing to a large group of people who have been scattered all over the world by the Assyrians and Babylonians. He’s writing to these tribes to encourage them. He begins writing to them with a word of encouragement and strength by telling them to count it all joy (I like to add emphasis to words like all and nothing because the Scripture is literal and when the Lord says all, He means all) when they face trials. These trials come in many forms, and for us, they may mean health problems (me), family hardships, money struggles, mental struggles, relationship issues, persecution or rejection, the list goes on. However, James is urging his audience, and us, to consider these hardships as a joy and a blessing… “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (or endurance).” What does it mean when he says our faith produces steadfastness? It means that we will be able to endure these trials, through our faith in the Lord. God is the sustainer of all things (Job 12:10) and through your faith and His goodness and strength, He will surely sustain you!

James goes on to give us a reason why we should count it all joy and how to count it all joy… watch this:

WHY?

“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” — This is our “why” we should count it all joy. Because by counting it all joy, we become steadfast and being steadfast then produces its full effect: us being perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Notice how the text mentioned being “complete” and “lacking in nothing” back to back? It reiterates how perfect we’ll be through Christ. When we rely on the Lord’s strength and goodness to bear the trials we are going through, we truly can have joy through those trials. That doesn’t mean we’re bouncing off the walls and jumping up and down with giddiness… what it does mean is that we can be truly at peace knowing that all things work together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

HOW?

How are we to count it all joy when we go through the trials of life?

First, let’s look at v5 — If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” We are to ask the Lord for wisdom through these trials. When we’re going through difficult times in our life, we may (and often) not understand why we’re going through them or perhaps what the Lord is doing through those times… to be completely honest, we may not even think that the Lord is present and near to us as we’re going through them. But He is! As Scripture tells us:

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

But perhaps an even better verse to back this up is Psalm 145:18 –

The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.

You see, when we are in the midst of hardship and pain, as well enjoying a season of ease and happiness, the Lord is near and He “gives generously to all without reproach“. I want you to notice one more thing in verse 5, the word reproach. This word is beautiful in this context because it translates to say that God, who gives generously, to those who ask (in faith) without disapproval or disappointment… so don’t be shy to ask the Lord for help! He will never look at you, His child, with disappointment.

Secondly, jump to 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.” We will receive the crown of life, everlasting joy in and with the Lord Jesus Christ in never-ending communion and fellowship in Heaven!

Remember to ask in faith, knowing that the Lord is the one who provides (Jehovah-Jireh, Genesis 22:14). Remember to put your trust in Him alone and not in riches, as verses 10-11 remind us that the sun will come and burn away the flower, just as money and riches will dissolve away. But the Lord reigns forever and we will do so with Him if we put our faith and trust in Him!

So, take joy and encouragement in the Lord through prayer… and encourage others to do the same! Ask of Him who is generous and He will be with you, always!

Remember, God is the author of your life, He’s not done writing… AND, He writes in pen because there is no need to erase, for He doesn’t make mistakes! Take heart in this!

Question for you: What are some practical ways you take joy in your trials of life?