James 1:1-4 “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
Our focus here is verse 2: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;”
In the world and age in which we live it would be easy to get confused at such a statement as this. For those of us who are saved it takes some study and the help of the Holy Spirit to understand just what James is telling us here. The lost world may think us deranged when they see us rejoicing over trials and temptations. In all honesty, many a person who claims to be a Christian would think us insane to rejoice in temptation. But the book says…
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1Thess. 5:18)
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Eph. 5:20)
There is nothing that comes our way in life that we can not thank God for. I know it may not always be easy to be thankful, it may not always be easy to praise God, but it is always right too.
How can we be thankful in trials?
We can be thankful in what trials and temptations that we face because we know that whatever comes our way must first have the Divine stamp of approval upon it. God will not allow us to be tempted above that we are able. We know this to be so because the word says so.
1Co 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Job is a good bible example of praising God in trials. He had lost all that he had. Job had no idea why all those terrible things had happened to him. There can be no doubt that he was hurting and confused, and no doubt, the devil was tempting him, and yet…
(Job 1:20-22) “blessed be the name of the Lord.”
We can also be thankful in trials because we already know the end of the story. Whatever we face is just another step closer home for us.
Abraham had already been told by God that his descendants would be afflicted for 400 years. And then He would deliver them. Every trial, every pain, every tear, every heartache, drop of sweat, beating, abuse, etc. was one step closer to deliverance. Most of us ought to be familiar with the story. The same is true for us. We are going home one day, and everything that takes place in this world is just one step closer to that glorious day.
And we also know that whatever we suffer here is just a little thing compared with the glory that awaits. (2Cor. 4:8-18)
How do we do it? Focus.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We can also rejoice and thank God in trials because we know that there is a purpose for every thing that comes our way.
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
The word perfect in our text here means to be finished, complete, not defective, having all that is requisite to it’s nature and kind; as a perfect statue; a perfect likeness; a perfect work. Without the trials and temptations that we suffer, we will not grow in faith, in patience, in maturity. We would be incomplete if God did not allow us to suffer, to be tested, to be tried. And we are to be like Him.
We know that God is conforming us to the image of His Son, the image of Christ. God is working us into what man was before being marred by Adam. And God is working with us in this life until, one day, we will be like Him.
The part that we often forget in this, conforming us to the image of His Son, is the fact that Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was despised and rejected of men. When we suffer, we can rest assured that it is for our good and God’s Glory. Our Lord suffered at the hands of a world that hated Him no matter what He did for them. And we can expect the same treatment if we are like Him.