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THE LETTER OF JAMES

THE LETTER OF JAMES

Facing Troubles with Joy! James 1:2-4

Thursday, September 29, 2011 View Comments Comments (0)
James starts off his letter with a strange statement. He writes -”Consider it pure, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2 NIV) That is strange, consider, count or mark it down as joy when you face troubles. Is James trying to tell us that we should jump up and down with excitement or joy and celebration when tragedy strikes? That would be ridiculous and senseless. So what is the real advise that he is about to give us? 
 
When we look at this in view of the results that he mentions, then we can see what he is saying. First, let me re-state something that maybe not so obvious. James is talking about the troubles that come with life. In other words, he is talking about troubles that we all face whether we belong to Jesus or not. These trials come through outward circumstance encountered by everyone. The difference is that when a believer in Jesus encounters these trials, God uses them for a higher purpose, His purposes. One could really say that when these troubles are encountered by the follower of Jesus theses troubles then have a purpose rather than just the “stuff that happens.” Remember the saying that was popular a few years ago, “stuff happen.” Yes, I cleaned it up a bit. But that was the phrase used by everyone to tell people to get over their troubles.
 
But, when God is invited in to be a part of our lives He takes these problems and makes them useful to us and to Him and His Kingdom. The Greek word “Dokimion” translated as tested or tried is used only here and in 1 Peter 1:7. It means to test or try to prove it as genuine or the real thing. It is like the cashier marking on a $20 dollar bill to make sure that it is not a counterfeit.
 
This testing produces or proves that we have patience. This patience is more than putting up with affliction and troubles. “It includes the idea of standing fast under pressure, with a staying power that turns adversities into opportunities.” (Earl D. Radmacher, 2007, p. 1970) Enduring these trials with the patience that turns these troubles into opportunities will get us to the end, “perfect” in one piece, “complete.” This is why we can now call or consider all of this as joy because of the end results. James is not stating that we ought to be happy when we have problems. We can be happy or have joy in our salvation that gets us through the problems. (1 Peter 1:3-6) 
 
Our joy comes from knowing that since we belong to Jesus we have help in getting through the troubles we are facing. These troubles are the same as everyone goes through. We just have help, a leg up on everyone else. We can turn to God and find our help through Jesus. Since we have Jesus we can come to God and find grace or mercy, free help, in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
 
Name your troubles and see how God can get you through them. It is almost like James is saying that we encounter the troubles of life we should approach them with the attitude that we are about to see God do something great in our lives.
 
Earl D. Radmacher, T. G. (2007). NKJV Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.