Focal Passage: James 1:1-4
I grew up singing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,” but it was always easier to sing at church than in the midst of life’s hard knocks. Even as we grow to understand that joy is not altered by circumstances, we are still tempted at times to sing the song through clenched teeth.
However, James states that we count it “all joy.” We must learn to find full joy in all the trials God allows us to face. James tells us that the trials are “various,” coming in many shapes and sizes, and that they all serve to produce endurance in the faith that leads to maturity.
Referring to himself as a bondservant of the Lord, James reminded his readers that he did not write things that he did not practice.
As a slave of Christ, he knew his life, warts and all, belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ and should bring glory to Him.
Most people would like to avoid the pressure cooker of trials altogether, and lead a free and easy life.
However, a pressure cooker without pressure is just another pan. Whether she was preparing a tough piece of meat or a package of frozen peas, my mother often depended on her pressure cooker to tackle difficult delights.
God in His mercy does not place us in a pressure cooker without a regulator. That’s a recipe for an explosion! The regulator allows pressure to build to a certain level so that cooking is accomplished and disaster avoided.
God allows us to face enough trials to produce His desired outcome without destroying us by more pressure than we can endure.
How have well-seasoned saints arrived at the maturity that marks their witness? They have been tried by fire!
Just like steel gains great strength in the fire of the forge, God’s people become mature and complete in the faith by facing and enduring the trials that challenge their faith in God and His Word. The more we find Him faithful the more we trust Him and obey His Word.