Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“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 nothing.” (James 1:2-4) I must admit, the title of this article reflects the way I felt last Monday. It’s amazing the difference a week can make. Last Monday, I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel. Life was hitting me from all directions—family responsibilities, work responsibilities, trying to rear my boy to love Jesus, and personal health challenges. The “good fight of faith,” aka the “Fight for Joy,” just wasn’t in me. I definitely needed an extra measure of God’s sufficient grace.
We all encounter problems, or what the Bible calls trials or tribulation. Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation.” (John 16:33) In other words, Jesus was testifying to the fact that in this life we will encounter much difficulty.
One of the most illogical statements in the Bible is found in James. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” (James 1:2). One has to wonder what James was thinking when he wrote these words. After all, the natural human response to problems is not to rejoice but to complain. It simply doesn’t make sense at first glance.
The Greek word for “consider” can also be translated “count” or “evaluate.” It is the Greek word “hegeomai,” which here means “to consider it now and once for all.” In other words, I consider what God is doing in my life right now, particularly concerning my faith, as I “encounter various trials,” and I settle it in my mind and heart and choose to rejoice in what God is doing.
The key to understanding all of this is found in verse 3, “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” The Greek word for “knowing” is “ginosko,” which frequently designates a relationship between the one “knowing” and the object known. What is “known” is of value or importance to the one who knows.
This is experimental knowledge. In other words, your faith has been put to the test so as to demonstrate the genuine element in your faith. The Greek word is “dokimion,” which means that by which something is tried or proved. It is a test—an experiment—to test the quality of faith. This testing, according to James, “produces endurance,” or what one theologian describes as, “staying power.” And notice I said quality not quantity. Even little faith is better than no faith at all. Furthermore, God can take little faith and grow it into great faith. So it’s not a matter of how much you believe God, but do you believe God?
This “staying power,” works itself out in a perfected or completed faith. Obviously, this will ultimately occur when we see Jesus face to face. But “until then,” as the gospel song says, “my heart will go on singing; until then with joy I’ll carry on; until the day my eyes behold that city; until the day God calls me home.” Notice the hymn writer said, “With joy I’ll carry on.” As believers, we must make a conscious commitment to face trials with joy.
Paul helps us understand how to live this way in Philippians 3:1, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” The phrase “in the Lord,” shows the sphere in which our joy exists—a heavenly sphere unrelated to the circumstances of life. Therefore, “fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” (Heb. 12:2)
When trials come—and believe me, they will—look to Jesus as the object of your faith and the author of your salvation. Keep a joyful attitude, knowing that God is in the process of proving your faith—and remember, true faith, no matter how small, always endures to the end.
Finally, remember life is short and one day you will see Jesus face to face. On that day, as you look back over the trials and tribulations of your life you’ll be able to say, “It was worth it all after all!”
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