Sunday, October 22, 2017

Joy in Trials

The most well known Bible verse about Joy is James 1:2  
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds”

The verse is insightful because it assumes, and rightly so, trials will be a part of every believer’s life. The 'trials of many kinds' range from Christian persecution and martyrdom to the struggles and difficulties of the 21st century. Large or small, we all have trials and challenges.

Thankfully, James gives us the reason why we should consider trials a joy. He says, “because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.”

The Message version of the Bible calls joy a gift.

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way."

The part that speaks to me is, “don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.” During stressful or difficult times, I often start to think about quitting.

I have quit diets – it is too hard to lose weight.

I have quit fitness goals – it is exhausting working out and going to the gym everyday.

I quit fasting one day a week – it is hard to starve yourself all day.

I quit gardening – the weeds grew faster than I could pick them. I gave in. They won.

I started writing several books and quit before they were completed. –It is time consuming.

Granted, these are all self- imposed stresses but had I finished them, I would be in better shape in several areas than I am now. In the middle of a trial I think about quitting. I try to figure out how I can escape or remove myself from the situation. In most of them there is no way out, I must finish. I have the choice to go through the trial, test or challenge with a depressed, poor-me attitude, or I can choose to view the situation as a gift that if I keep going through will develop maturity and perseverance in me.  If I choose to lean in to God, trust Him more, keep going knowing I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength, I can come out on the other side with a stronger faith and hopefully more wisdom than I had before.

There is no getting around the fact that life is full of trials. James encourages us to stick it out and finish, knowing that going through difficulties relying on God, builds Christian character in us. I have several situations in my life where I am encouraging myself to push through, finish, take the next step, and persevere. 

How about you?
Are you in a situation where you want to quit?
Can you see where if you stick it out and finish your perseverance will build maturity in you?
I encourage you, like James does, don’t quit prematurely.  Finish strong and choose to be joyful as you go through it.

                             Continued in Part 2 - Click here.

(This is part of a 31 day writing challenge, to write on the same topic everyday in October. This series is Joy in the Journey. To read others in this series, click here.)



  1. well, yes -there are several. i've been an exercise program, i've begun a cleaner food program -both I've tried before and need to persevere. and i don't want to get out of them prematurely. deeper still, i want to live all for Jesus, out from a position of rest and abiding, rather than working and striving. that also takes perseverance in a forced relaxing sort of way. i have good people who tell me: sue, finish that book, finish that... that helps me finish what I need to finish. The joy is in the process, not only in the finishing - so don't be too hard on yourself!

  2. Yes and Amen (and me, too!) It's in the middle when we want to quit that we produce the most fruit if we will stick with it! And yes and amen to what Sue said above, too! "The joy is in the process, not only in the finishing..." so good!

  3. Such a conviction Holy Spirit gave me years ago ... about finishing. Thanks for the reminder.