James wrote to people who were having “trials” in their lives. The word James used could be translated “temptations.” Readers were to understand that these trials caused “the testing of faith” (James 1:2). The result, if successfully dealt with, would produce patience.

Something good can come from something that seems bad. Patience, a needed virtue, is developed through facing trials.

Today, just as in the time when James wrote, trials will test God’s people. Those who think living the Christian life means a shield of freedom from trials will be disappointed.

We have to endure spiritual trials. We may get complacent by being part of a good congregation, with good leaders, hearing correct teaching.The devil could easily tempt us to be satisfied with things going well enough that we can let others do all the work for us. If we meet the budget as a congregation, we could be tempted to fail to examine our personal giving. The trial could be just getting along with fellow Christians. Remember Corinth?

We also have to endure physical trials. When the world of Job collapsed around him, he could have given in to the suggestion of his wife, “Curse God and die!”(Job 2:9). But, remember this, Job was not only tried when he lost, he was surely tried when he was prosperous. We have seen people turn away from God when they lose a child or a parent, a husband or a wife. Our health may fail us. Shall we react with an unwavering faith of shall we fault God because we are not well every moment?

Joseph saw trials that could have destroyed his faith in God. Yet, he was always faithful in both shadows and sunshine.

Hopefully, we understand why James wrote “…count it all joy when you fall into various trials…” (1:2). And, even more, that we can add a hearty “Amen” to his words.

-Allen Hahn


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