James tells us to “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 1:1-4)
As Christians we have circumstances in our lives—many times beyond our control—as well as trials and testing. But do we also listen to, think on and practice what James is telling us here and have joy in these trials? Do we consider that we are growing in our faith as we patiently endure in our trials, testing and circumstances?
I have found that there are three ways that I can experience these times…
- Getting weighed down by them both in and through them. Carrying them on my own shoulders, so to speak, and allowing them to cause me to be discouraged, depressed and weak/weary.
- Go at them… “I CAN DO THIS!,” but really it is trying to in my own strength, which really is no strength at all and futile.
- Or, having HUMBLE KNOWLEDGE, which is going to God in all humility, and thank Him for allowing the circumstances, trials and testing, asking Him, “What are You showing me in them?” “Are You bringing out an ugliness or sin in my own life that You are transforming me through this time?” “How can You be glorified in and through these?” And then knowing that, as Paul writes to the Romans in 5:3-5, “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
This is not a “natural” way to go about these circumstances, trials and testing, but learned by keeping our eyes affixed upon Jesus, fully dependent upon Him, and looking to see Him work in and through them. I can “count it all joy” when these come my way, humbly knowing that He is able to do a perfect work in and through me, growing me to be more like Him. Let us give the glory to God in and through our difficult times this coming year.