Verse 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
Yesterday we finished looking at the portion of the Fruit of the Spirit, love, and today we turn to the second portion of the Fruit – joy.
Most people see joy as a deep happiness but it is so much more than that. First of all happiness is a feeling we get when things are pleasant or going our way but in today’s passage we see that joy is a choice. How many of us would get happy about going through trials in life?
Our world struggles with the thought of joy and trial being in the same sentence. The fact that we don’t think that they can coexist in our lives shows more about us than we may be ready to admit. What is it about us that doesn’t like trials? They aren’t comfortable, are they? Trials are usually what we consider those times in life that we hate what we are going through. They are times filled with pain – emotional and/or physical. They are often the times in our lives when we find out who our true friends are. So how could anyone find joy in these moments?
The James that is writing this statement about choosing joy in trials was someone who knew what trials looked like in life. He was the half-brother of Jesus and was one of the leaders of the early Church in Jerusalem. He had seen and experienced his share of trials. And he had seen his family go through trials through the years. It was likely that his dad died before Jesus did and that would have been a trial for the poor family that they were. Besides that he would have watched his brother living in such a way and on a mission that he at that point didn’t understand and so thought his brother was making a mockery of their family. Then there was the whole thing about his brother’s death. And that was all before facing the persecution of being a part of the early Church. James knew trials. So what did he know about trials that he wants us to know? And how can he dare suggest that we choose joy in them?
James knew the result of choosing joy in trials. Maybe it was his mom that had helped him see these truths or maybe he had learned them straight from Jesus. Trials test our faith. When we stand in the midst of trials we learn endurance. We learn that when our trust is in Him, we can rely on His strength and that is how we can endure the trials of this world because we know they aren’t eternal. We can choose joy because He is in control at all times. And when we can choose joy in the midst of trials there can be no doubt to the world around us that we are worshiping Someone other than ourselves.
Making It Personal
What is a trial in your life that you found hard to choose joy in? Did you endure and grow through the trial? We know that more will come, what would help you choose joy next time there is a trial in your life?
Making It Personal Kids
How about a song? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LylgwOEI7AY
Father, thank You for giving us the option of joy in our trials. Please remind us of how You are there with us during our trials. Help us know that none of our trials will compare with Christ’s trials on earth but that He experienced all He did so that He can sympathize with us. In Jesus’ name, amen.