2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.
3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
(James 1:2-5 – Amplified Bible)
It is not usually easy to put a smile on your face when we are going through a tough situation. Yet the verse in our text is more than saying to put a smile but to also count it all joy. As if keeping the right attitude isn’t hard enough, James says to count it all joy. Does make you wonder if it was not some sort of hidden message. However, I believe James speaks with a lot of revelation in this verse. After reading this verse using the Message Bible, then I begin to appreciate what he says here;
2 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
4 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.
I truly desire that my life fully expresses the glory of God to the fullest without any hindrances. However, I have realized that many times what we call Christianity is usually influenced by society and what we have experienced with time. It is really a blurred and untrue experience. Take for example the Israelites after coming out of Egypt; they made for themselves a gold calf. However, what seems very shocking to me is that Aaron tells the people the feast was unto Jehovah (Exo. 32: When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of it and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival in the LORD’S honor.) When studying the names of God, you will realize that the Hebrew word used in this verse is Jehovah, a name that was used by Sons and daughters. The angels do not call him that, they call him Elohim (creator). You could also understand why God would be very upset with them; attributing His very intimate title to a piece of golden image. You might also be wondering how a high priest like Aaron could make such a careless declaration about the Lord. Well, he had spent all his life under the Egyptian and got used to seeing images of their idols, which were usually creatures, and though he had only recently had an opportunity encounter with God (Ex. 24) and may have so easily mixed up the Lion for a calf because he still had “too much Egypt” in him.
This gives you a better understanding why James says we count it all joy. Knowing that we have a Lord who’s plans for us are good and to bring us to the expected end (Jer. 29:11). He tells us “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.” (James 1:5). At the end of his life, Aaron led the people to God and as the LORD expected a priest to do so. He may have had mixed ideas but as he allowed himself go through all that God required from him, he became that perfect and fully developed priest God intended for him to be.
So next time you’re going through those trials and temptations, don’t say you’ve been rejected but stand your ground in the word of God and count it all joy because at the end of it all, you’re coming out mature and well-developed.
This article was written by Ikenna Agbai. You can follow him on Twitter @Agbai.
Image from mandycole.blogspot.com