Count It All Joy
by mark baker
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James 1:2 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.
Have you ever really stopped and considered that Godís Word is telling us to count it all joy when we are in a test? We have been told to count it all joy, or we would most likely certainly not count it all joy would we? Many or most Christians would not. There is a reason we should be so joyful in extreme circumstances. When our faith is tried, patience is perfected. James explains this in vs. 4. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
W.E. Vines says perfect signifies "having reached its end" (telos), "finished, complete, perfect." Also referring to the complete revelation of God's will and ways, whether in the completed Scriptures or in the hereafter); Jas. 1:4 (of the work of patience)
This is the same word used in 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
So who would like to be perfected? James is telling us right here how we become that way.
Basically, we have to grow up in the things of God. In order to do this we have to be tested. If you are not tested you will never develop patience, and if you never develop patience you will never be lacking nothing. I know that is a mouthful, but that is the short and long of it. If you want to grow up in the things of God you have to go through some tests. This is the way our faith is developed. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, but that faith has to be used or it is of no use to anybody, not to you, not to your family, not to your brothers and sister in Christ, and not to God. Know this, without faith it is impossible to please Him.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Patience is another way of saying endurance, meaning the ability to stand and keep on standing when all are falling around you.
Without this kind of patience we will not continue to stand in faith, and if that happens we will definitely be found wanting. That is a very serious thing to consider, especially in these times.
That is not what God wants for His children. He wants us to be perfect and entire or complete, lacking nothing or He would not be telling us these things. That is what we should want as well. However getting there is not always fun. We need patience to get there, and getting there should be of primary focus in our lives. Our patience should be perfected so that our faith will not fail in the day of adversity.
The Apostle Peter said thisÖ
1 Peter 1:5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7. that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8. whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9. receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls.
Peter said our faith is much more precious than gold that perishes or basically, it decomposes with time. Think about why the Word is calling your faith precious. It is precious for a reason, and he says here that though it is tested by fire, that it may be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. That is something precious to God. He went to tremendous lengths to get us redeemed. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for our redemption, there could be no greater price paid than was paid by Jesus. However having said that, it will do us no good if we wonít receive it and take advantage of the exceeding great and precious promises that God has given to us through Christ. Thatís why our faith is so important. God wants us to receive these promises and the only way you can do that is through faith.
This is the way God operates; we may not like it but that is the way it is, so we better start to deal with this as adults. He is no respecter of persons. We all at times go through periods of testing whether we want to or not. It is the only way to be found perfect in Him. Some people think the Christian life is a cop out or some kind of a crutch, they can call it what they want but it takes true determination and a level of endurance to walk this kind of walk. I want to say that the rewards are great. Donít get discouraged in a test but be joyful through every bit of it. Peter said a similar thing, he said to greatly rejoice.
I think of David, he was a man after Godís own heart. He messed up many times yet he stood up like a man admitted his mistakes and glorified God through it all. This truly pleases the heart of the Father.
David said in Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You notice that he didnít say that he was walking in the valley of death, but in the valley of the shadow of death. Circumstances around us can be terrible, it may seem like the walls are caving in on top of us, but just say like David this is just the shadow of death its not taking me down. God is there with me. His Word declares that He will never leave us or forsake us. Glory to His name. Start rejoicing in these times of testing as Peter says.
Think about what an awesome God we serve, and get your mind off of the negative circumstances. Dwelling on the circumstances is not going to help you anyway, it will
only build up your confidence in destruction.
David knew that regardless of the circumstances that life dealt him, God would be with him continually comforting him and in the end seeing him through to the finish. At the end of the psalm he saidÖ
Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
What confidence and joyful expectation he had in God.
James goes on to say more about this process and why it is necessary for us to have it.
James 1:5. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
6. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
7. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
8. he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
We must be patient in the process and not faint. James tells us that we can ask for wisdom and God will give us wisdom liberally and without reproach. Simply meaning, He is not going to chide us and belittle us for not having the answers. He already knows when we donít have the answer, however we are being told to ask for wisdom and understanding and to receive it by faith. Arenít you glad God doesnít just leave us hanging, but will give us the wisdom to stand in unwavering faith and walk directly through the valley of the shadow of death. I am!!! Glory to His name. He has never let me down, and He never will.
We have to get to the place where we start to understand that God has called us to be mature, seasoned, and strong children capable of going the distance. Yet in order to get to be that way we have to learn to trust in Him in the midst of the circumstances. It makes it a lot easier to know that this is for our good, and in knowing you will come through victorious with faith that has been refined like gold.
The whole purpose of the test is to develop your faith and give you the confidence to stand strong and endure. We will never gain confidence if we donít stand will we, and we wonít stand if we have no patience, and we wonít have patience if we never are given the opportunity to put our faith to the test.
There are no short cuts in growing up. We all have to go through these things, as
God is not a respecter of anyone. He doesnít play favorites. He promotes those who have gone the distance and were able to stand glorifying Him through it all. So let patience have her perfect work in you so that you may have your faith fulfilled. Donít loose heart in the trial but know that God is faithful to see you through. He most certainly will!
Just be joyful in the refining process knowing that the rewards are great.
Glory to God. Amen.
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