Daily Devotional

James 1:2-3

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness."

The book of James is my favorite book of the Bible (if we’re allowed to pick favorites). It is full of such practical and applicable wisdom and I gain something new every time I read it. James of course knows that we are saved by faith and not works, however James also wants to be sure that his readers have a working faith. We don’t place our faith in our works, but we do need a faith that works.

Even if we have a true and genuine faith, we are not guaranteed of a perfect or easy life. We will face difficulty and hardship. When (not if) difficulty comes, James has an odd piece of advice; count it joy. One of the many lessons we can gain from the book of James is that a faith that works moves forward, even through difficulty.

Trials will come; we can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control how we respond. Trials are never enjoyable, but they are an opportunity for growth, and we can be joyful because of what God will do. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” We’re not told that all things will feel good, or even be good, but that God can bring good.We can be joyful in trials because it actually benefits us. Trials and hardships aren’t fun or comfortable, but comfort shouldn’t be our highest goal as Christians. If we think the life of a Christian should always be a life of comfort, then we will often find ourselves disappointed and discouraged. Our highest goal should be growing closer to Jesus.

When James says to “count it joy” it has a financial sense to it. It basically means to evaluate. What we value determines how we evaluate things. What do we value the highest? If it truly is growing closer to Jesus then we need to evaluate everything, including our difficulty through that lens. Our faith should be a growing faith, a faith that is moving forward.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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