Consider It All Joy, My Brethren By George Stroh, Senior Pastor December 21, 2009
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4)
Life is often difficult. There are many Christians today who are suffering with physical problems, including some who will not recover. Others are dealing with financial trials that seem overwhelming. And still others are being tested with strained relationships bringing much stress and emotional pain. Yes, life is often difficult.
While our individual trials and tribulations are not unique or maybe even as severe as others, they are, nevertheless, painful. James wrote to encourage and remind every Christian that God has a purpose even in times of testing. Therefore, we are told to "Consider it all joy". This is terminology used by accountants. How should I count or account for the trials and tribulations in my life? Are these to be considered assets or liabilities? James says they are to be counted as assets. Why? Because the testing of your faith produces endurance.
The athletes have a saying, "No pain...No gain". The only way to get strong physically and achieve peak physical performance is by pushing your body. Sometimes this process is painful, but the discipline and conditioning produces the required strength and endurance. In high school I was on the wrestling team. The pre-season weight training and aerobatic conditioning was not much fun. In fact, it was often physically painful. There were times when I felt like quitting. But our coach knew that this training was necessary if we were to be successful during the season. I remember winning wrestling matches against opponents that were obviously more talented, natural athletes than me (most of them were). I was successful because I was in better physical shape than my opponents and endured, thanks to that pre-season conditioning.
Likewise, the only way to get stronger faith in God is through painful trials and tribulations. God wants His children to have strong faith that endures when it is tested. The result is a mature faith in God that lacks nothing. And so, as our loving Father, He provides these diverse trails, at just the right time and in just the right proportion. I don't know what you are dealing with today, but I do know that if you are a Christian, God is working things together, even the trials of your life, for your good.
Don't overlook two important little words in this verse-- "all" and "when". We are to count it "all" joy, knowing that there are no mistakes or chance happenings. Everything God does is for a good purpose and therefore, good for us. Maybe your life is relatively free today from any significant trails or tribulations. God does promise to never give us more than our faith can handle. However, If you belong to Him, it is not a matter of "if" but "when" you encounter various trials. God loves you too much to let your faith remain small and undeveloped. Our faith, like our muscles, will atrophy if not tested and God won't let that happen to His beloved children.
"Consider it all joy, my brethren and " Maranatha!