I hope you all got something out of part one, and I hope you enjoyed it! What surprised me was how much information you can get out of such a short, and seemingly boring, introductory verse! Let's get on with part two!
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James starts the body of his letter by referring to his readers as his brethren. This tiny phrase emphasizes the fact made in the first verse that who James is writing to are believers, fellow laborers in the faith, his brethren, our brethren.
James then exhorts them to do something out of the ordinary - consider trials as joy. Joy, to me, is spending time with friends and family. Joy is learning something new in God's word. Joy is playing with a new camera. Joy is diving into a new book. Joy is sculpting a little person out of clay. But James says to count our trials as joy. When you read this you probably stopped and thought something like "whoa!" or "no way!" or "nu-uh!" This idea is repulsive to us for one reason alone - we're human and we like comfort. We naturally dislike pain. We naturally dislike hard times. We naturally do what's best for us and for our comfort and our enjoyment. Anyone who says differently needs counseling.
This idea of counting your trials as joy doesn't make sense unless you read verse 3 (one example of why context is SO very important!) - "knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience." So, knowing that the trying of our faith teaches us to be more patient, we can honestly and truly count it all (even the hard times) as joy because we know that the reward at the end it greater than the pain you have to go through to get it. But, that is still an awfully hard thing to swallow. How can we really count trials as joy? I mean, yeah it may sound easy, but is it really? Can you really go through a time being rejected by everyone? Can you really lose your best friend and still trust God to do what's best?
The only way to get through these trials is through the strength God gives us who trust in Him. We (you) must believe that it is because of Him that Romans 8:28 stands. "And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." By trusting Him - by putting our lives in HIS hands and letting him take control - we can joyfully go through any trials that come our way. The trying of our faith makes patience grow.
Verse four - Now that we have a bit of patience, after we learn to joyfully go through some trials, we must keep having patience. Patience with each other, and in with our circumstances. It's not a one time thing. If you're human, I promise you that you will have one trial after another your entire life. You never get a break. But you know what? As you grow in Christ, it gets easier - easier to be joyful and easier to get through those trials, especially the hard ones, without breaking down.
Easier said than done? You betcha. I can't imagine losing one of my best friends, much less, losing my best friends and counting it as joy! If it came down to it, be honest, if you had the choice to keep your best friend and reject Christ, or to lose your best friend and remain in Christ, which would you choose? Ultimately, the question comes down to this: who do you love more?
In Christ alone,