The Book of James is astonishing to me. After his formal introduction, James jumps right in to the heart of his message. He writes in James 1:2-4, “2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Now, if I had some friends going through “various trials,” I probably wouldn’t begin a letter to them telling them to be happy about it. But, then again, he didn’t say happy, he said the word, “joy.”
Happy and joyful are often used interchangeably. Happy means things are going your way, while joy is a deeper sense of peace that sustains you even when things are not going your way. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:7, “7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This kind of peace and joy doesn’t make sense to the world and really is hard to make sense of as Christians. The closer we get to God in our walk, the more we experience this peace in the good times and the bad.
Verse 3 says, “…the testing of your faith produces patience.” The only way to test faith is for a situation comes up for you to trust God when you cannot see or understand the answer. These are commonly called “bad days.” But, are they really bad? When we make it through a “bad day” and realize it was only God that got us through it, we grow spiritually. The word patience is from the Greek word “hoo-a-mo-nay.” It actually means a joyful endurance or to joyfully endure a difficult time because you trust that God will get you through it. Verse 4 says that we will be “perfect and complete” (spiritually) when we let that joyful endurance become our mindset every day.
I pray that God’s perfect peace fills your heart today and every day. If your day is “good” or “bad” you will end all of your days wrapped comfortably in God’s peace. I hope as we walk through the book of James together, we all find deeper and better ways to be transformed by this powerful letter written over 2000 years ago. There is so much wisdom in God’s Word. It has the power to transform us from frustrated and anxious people into peaceful and joyful people who other people want to come to in times or trouble to find out what we know. May God bless each of you greatly today.
Your Brother in Christ,