Read James 1:2-12

When the difficult times come into your life, what is your response? While it may seem tempting to look for a shortcut out of the discomfort, that’s not the kind of attitude God desires from us. Instead, He wants His children to remain submitted to Him, though that may not end the affliction. But it is the Lord’s will that we hold our heads high and press on through the pain.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)

Whenever we face trials, we know one thing is absolutely true—God is producing something excellent in us. In fact, there are times He allows us to go without any earthly comfort so we will turn completely to Him and experience His joy, comfort, power, and assurance. In this way, He teaches us not to react to trials emotionally, but to respond with faith in His perfect provision. When we learn this, we can endure anything because our character is strengthened and our focus is on Him, rather than our circumstances.

This comes as a shock to many new believers. After placing their faith in Jesus, they are often surprised when some unexpected hardship appears. However, it’s a misconception to expect an easy life once we trust God’s Son as Lord. In fact, the Bible assures us of quite the opposite. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

In James 1:2, we are instructed to consider our struggles as a source of “pure joy”. This makes sense only when we see our difficulties through God’s eyes, as opportunities for growth. There is nothing joyful about trials in and of themselves. The key to finding joy in adversity is where we place our focus. If we concentrate on our circumstances, we will become disheartened and discouraged. But when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we learn to rejoice in our difficulties, because God has promised to work through them to strengthen our faith, bring us into closer fellowship with Himself, and teach us endurance. When we face trials with wisdom and endure them with godly perseverance, we will find blessings we never thought possible.

When we encounter situations that confound us. James admonishes us to ask God for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5) Wisdom is the ability to see life from His point of view—a request He honors because it is actually an appeal to know him better. Prayer is life’s greatest time-saver, so don’t remain confused. Ask God for His wisdom.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12) At the end of the struggle, we will see God standing with our reward: the crown of life. To use an example from the world of sports, the “crown of life” is essentially God’s gold medal for a job well done. Do you want the Lord’s recognition of your spiritual victory? Then press on through the hardship and discover what lies just beyond the trial.

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